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  • Cam

    They only REASSIGNED the commander?? he should be court martialed.

  • KV

    He does kind of seem like a very sensitive sailor.

  • Max

    It’s comforting to know that the bullying of our childhoods has been successful put behind us by our proud men in uniform. :V

    What else can I say? This is stupid and shouldn’t have happened. I’m interested in who the sailor ‘confided to’ though. Queerty didn’t tell me. D:

  • Submarine veteran

    (sigh)… The headline is incorrect. The “Chief of the Boat” – known as the “Cob” – is NOT an officer. He is the highest-ranking enlisted man. His job among other things is to keep an eye on the psychological well-being of the enlisted men, many of whom are only 19 or 20, or even 18.

    Part of this would involve designing the watch list so as to keep guys who didn’t get along well from arguing (or even fighting), and helping the youngest guys who are having problems to fit in (and hopefully, make friends). Maybe this sounds unexpectedly flaky to some of you, that wouldn’t surprise me – but believe me, on a submarine things like that are extremely important where probably on a larger ship they wouldn’t matter so much. So yeah, it’s clear to me that the Cob was not doing his job.

    And I have to agree with Max – that first sentence really doesn’t make any sense, does it? I’m guessing the sailor confided in the Cob, or maybe his gangleader (a word we used unironically in the US Navy, since it was originally a nautical term and the criminal element in 19th-century England adopted it, I think), since that would be the usual procedure.

    Thought I might as well chime in, because I thought being a sailor on a WELL-RUN, happy submarine was a lot of fun! When I was new there I had a lot trouble adjusting to it, but my Cob and friends were helpful, and eventually I got more confident. Most of the guys are really pretty straight. A few are gay, yeah, but there’s no privacy. So don’t get any of those “porn movie” ideas. But really, I remember most of it as fun, with a free trip to East Asia among other places. I wonder what it’s like nowadays with DADT gone. I’m guessing that on SOME subs, you could have a boyfriend and it would be totally accepted – that’s cool to think about!

  • jwrappaport

    @Cam: Sounds light, but a reassignment can easily torpedo a career (pun intended) and make life pretty unpleasant for him. Let’s hope this is the case.

  • Kevin

    A Master Chief Machinist’s Mate is not an officer. As the article clearly states, he was the highest ranking ENLISTED man in the vessel. Also, being relieved from duty is a lot different from being reassigned, though having read the original article that mistake belongs to the AP. Yes, he does currently have another assignment, but trust me that at that level, he’s well on his way to a hasty “retirement.”

  • Daez

    @jwrappaport: The other option probably would have been an honorable discharge. They would have never went dishonorable since he is not directly responsible for the bullying he just overlooked it.

    I think that a reassignment to Siberia or Antarctica or the equivalent is a lot worse.

  • miKem

    I read that he was charged with “dereliction of duty” which is a serious offense in the USN. He will stand a courts martial and possible discharge or loss of rank.

  • sfo

    @Kevin: 6

    Enlisted – yes; Officer – yes – a Chief Petty Officer.

  • Kevin

    @sfo: Just because it contains the word officer does not make it so. He is a non-commissioned officer (aka, not an officer). By your logic, am I forced to assume that a CPO is also petty?

  • Submarine veteran

    @sfo: Kevin is correct, that’s not how the terminology works within the military. An “officer” means a commissioned officer: a gold stripe on the hat, and has been to college already (either the academy or ROTC). An enlisted man or woman is not an officer despite sometimes being called an “NCO” (non-commissioned officer). The marine/army/air force equivalent of a “petty officer” is a “sergeant,” and I don’t think you’re going to find a WWII or Vietnam War movie where they refer to a sergeant as an officer!

    Another thing that occurred to me is, if this kid was so miserable, why didn’t they at least suggest a transfer to a surface ship? That happened occasionally in my time, and there wasn’t much stigma to it; there was the attitude that “submarines aren’t for everyone” and that was okay. Some guys got through Sub School (New London, CT) just fine, but when they got to a real submarine they freaked out, or were just miserable & couldn’t get used to it. It happened. So I think this angle is pretty strange. Were they really short-handed, or just punishing him, or what?

    I’m not saying that would be necessarily the best solution here; it could be the lazy way out, if the Cob just didn’t want to bother fixing the real problem. But for obvious reasons, it’s not good to have an extremely depressed guy (never mind “suicidal” as the article states!) stuck living on a sub for months on end. For one thing, you can’t just have him peeling potatoes indefinitely; eventually he’d need to be doing other jobs there, including probably handling weapons, opening/closing valves in emergencies and so on – things that do tend to be important on a sub (duh). So the whole story is kind of weird.

    @Kevin: Right – no doubt as a Master Chief he’ll be very close to the 20-year mark anyway, maybe even a little past it, so retirement is probably very soon.

  • Submarine veteran

    @Kevin: Actually, yeah – some CPOs are really petty! :)

  • Steve

    @Cam: The “reassigned” the commander. That doesn’t sound like much of a punishment, but it really is. He is no longer in command of anyone. His career is over. He will be allowed to retire in due course. That’s how it works for military officers. They are usually court-martialled only if people actually die as a direct result of an obviously bad decision. Military command is a high-risk profession. They are expected to take risks. They sometimes make mistakes. This was a mistake, not a crime, and no lives were lost.

  • Steve

    @Kevin: You are quite right. The Chief of the Boat, is technically not an officer. However, all of the officers routinely ask his opinion, and accept his advice. You may have heard, “the sergeants run the army”. In the Navy, they are called chiefs. “The chiefs run the navy.”

    A smart captain listens to his chiefs. They run the boat. He decides where it goes.

  • Me

    Yea, he’s a faithful catholic.

  • Seaguy

    Maybe that’s why the Florida recently had a fire that did millions in damage while it was in drydock for maintenance and now they have to decide if it’s even worth repairing. Karma can be a bitcfh!

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