The Navy doesn’t like being lied to, especially when it comes to fitness scores. And Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Rachel Watson learned firsthand what branch officials will do if you try to fudge sailors’ physical readiness assessment scores.
Watson was removed from her post as the senior enlisted advisor of the Jacksonville, Florida-based Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 11 after allegedly requesting that several sailors’ scores be updated in the Navy’s Physical Readiness Information Management System, Navy Times reported.
An unnamed official told the publication that Watson’s corrections were discovered by another sailor in the unit’s chain of command, which led to an investigation.
This isn’t the first time a naval staff member has been implicated in a PRT scandal.
In 2015, recruit division commanders at Navy Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, South Carolina, reportedly told new sailors to lie about or cheat on the PRT.
“Of 100 sailors surveyed by Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, 42 reported that their RDCs and other RTC staff had told them, explicitly or by implication, to cheat on the PRT,” Navy Times reported.
Up to this point, Watson has had a decorated career in the Navy. She enlisted in 1989 and has earned an Army Commendation Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and four Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, according to Navy Times. She was made a master chief in 2013 and became a command master chief two years later.
So far, the Navy has not explained the reason for Watson’s decision to alter PRT scores. Lt. Cmdr Cate Cook, spokesperson for Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, also told Navy Times that she is unsure what disciplinary measure will be taken in Watson’s case.
Task & Purpose reached out to Navy Expeditionary Combat Command for a comment and will update this story as more information becomes available.
NEWPORT — The explosion and sinking of the ship in 1943 claimed at least 1,138 lives, and while the sea swallowed the bones there were people, too, who also worked to shroud the bodies.
The sinking of the H.M.T. Rohna was the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of U.S. war, but the British Admiralty demanded silence from the survivors and the tragedy was immediately classified by the U.S. War Department.
Michael Walsh of Newport is working to bring the story of the Rohna to the surface with a documentary film, which includes interviews with some of the survivors of the attack. Walsh has interviewed about 45 men who were aboard the ship when it was hit.
Editor's note: this story originally appeared in 2018
How you die matters. Ten years ago, on Memorial Day, I was in Fallujah, serving a year-long tour on the staff and conducting vehicle patrols between Abu Ghraib and Ramadi. That day I attended a memorial service in the field. It was just one of many held that year in Iraq, and one of the countless I witnessed over my 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Like many military veterans, Memorial Day is not abstract to me. It is personal; a moment when we remember our friends. A day, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “sacred to memories of love and grief and heroic youth."