SKIPPER OF DD ARLEIGH BURKE
Commander E. J. McClure can forget about wearing four stripes on her sleeve anytime soon. Her career just took a dive into the "Deep Six." The slender, soft-spoken University of Texas graduate has been relieved of command.
The skipper of the destroyer Arleigh Burke has been reassigned to other duties after Navy brass said they had "lost confidence in her ability to command." The warship ran "soft aground" off Norfolk as the DD was returning to port. There was little or no damage to the vessel, but the Navy usually fires captains who get in that kind of a mess.
While McClure is a female officer, apparently the Navy is willing to risk any fallout from fierce feminists who might charge "discrimination." The situation is complicated by the fact a senior officer, Destroyer Squadron 2 commodore Capt. Larry Tidal, was aboard the Burke at the time the ship grounded.
Whether that will impact the findings in the on-going investigation remains to be seen.
SIX COMMANDERS IN AS MANY WEEKS "WALK THE PLANK"
McClure is the sixth commander to be canned in as many weeks. We don't know if this is a new record for the Navy, but it sure has caught the attention of the fleet.
Cmdr. William Schwalm, skipper of the fast-attack sub Helena got the boot after his boss, Capt. Paul Jaenichen, commodore of San Diego's submarine Squadron 11 said he'd "lost confidence" in Schwalm's ability to "maintain the Helena's crew proficiency and level of readiness."
Chalk up another three-striper that won't make captain.
The other firings include the commander of the oldest ship in the Navy, the USS Constitution, berthed at Boston, Massachusetts; the C.O. of a destroyer on its way to the Persian Gulf; the OIC of the New York Recruiting District; and the captain of an electronic warfare squadron. He got the axe only nine days after assuming command.
BOOZE AND A BRAWL OUTSIDE BAR ON KEY WEST'S DUVALL STREET
The Coast Guard is not without it's troubles. Besides the commander of the cutter Alex Haley being relieved of duty, the skipper of the Boston-based cutter Escanaba is in big trouble after a drunken brawl with a bartender on "gay-old" Duval Street in Key West.
Cmdr. Mike Sabellico, 42, has been reassigned elsewhere in the wake of the embarrassing incident which took place outside an Irish pub after the officer had been seen "loitering" in an alley with several crew members around 1:30 a.m. this past May 15.
We don't know if the fight took place between a burly Irish heterosexual or a "light-in-the-loafers" leprechaun, but Sabellico apparently got the worst of it. Certainly his bar-hopping and alleged inebriation won't do much for the commander's career.
Sabellico has been charged with "simple assault."