U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Torrey W. Lee
The Navy officer who apologized to Iran after the crew of the riverine boats he was in command of were captured in January 2016, will be allowed to remain in the service after a separation board in Imperial Beach, California, ruled in his favor on April 18, according to Navy Times.
“What [the Navy] tried to do is use a teeny window of this regulation and drive a truck through it,” Phillip Lowry, Nartker’s Utah-based lawyer, told the newspaper. “And the board saw through it.”
The Navy was looking to give Lt. David Nartker the boot for two reasons. First, the service alleged that he disobeyed a general order — specifically, the standing order that boat crews were to go from Weapons Condition 4 to Weapons Condition 3 (weapons loaded, with an empty chamber) once they left their home base on a patrol:
[caption id="attachment_20688" align="aligncenter" width="840"] It’s right in the Navy’s manual on “Naval Coastal Warfare Operations.”[/caption]
Nartker was found guilty of that charge during an admiral’s mast last August, notes the Navy Times.
The second reason — well, it was more about appearances. Bad ones.
The Navy attempted to hit Nartker with a charge for “substandard performance based on his physical appearance and deportment,” a separation-level offense usually doled out to physically unsatisfactory sailors and those who have consistent trouble meeting grooming standards. Nartker wasn’t out of shape or unkempt, but his appearance in an Iranian propaganda video was a national embarrassment.
“The basis for the case was that he had been in the Iranian propaganda video and it made the Navy look bad — and because it made the Navy look bad, [Nartker] looked bad and therefore he should be fired," Lowry said.
The statement made by Nartker was a condition for the boat crew’s release, but it violated the code of conduct all service members must adhere to when in enemy hands, according to a military investigation.
For now, Nartker’s still in the Navy, but it’s unclear what his future will hold. Following his admiral’s mast last year, the 28-year-old surface warfare officer was stripped of his surface warfare officer qualifications and SWO insignia.
President Donald Trump hands a pen to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie during a spending bill signing ceremony at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)
The Trump administration wants to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans' hospitals to private health care providers. That's true even though earlier this year the administration vehemently denied it would privatize any part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The privatization of essential government services is nothing new, of course. Over the years, countries have privatized dozens of services and activities that were once the sole domain of governments, such as the provision of electricity and water, road operations and prisons and even health care, with the ostensible aim of making them more efficient.
But before going down that road, the question needs to be asked whether privatizing essential human services such as those for military veterans serves the public interest. New research we recently published suggests that privatization may come at a social cost.
The Coast Guard is officially shit outta luck for a paycheck thanks to the government shutdown, which means that zero coasties have been paid to create some of the amazing memes being shared as a way to vent their frustration.