The Navy Turns Out The Public Affairs Lights After The Fat Leonard Scandal, And Other Military Mischief

The Long March
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) transits the Arctic Circle Sept. 5, 2017.
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan U. Kledzi

Here's a rundown of some recent military mischief:


  • A Marine brigadier was removed from his job for talking like a dumbass.
  • The skipper of the USS Somerset, an amphibious transport dock ship, got the heave-ho after command climate concerns surfaced. He previously had been the XO so this was not a situation where he failed to understand a new ship.
  • Two Marine Corps Reserve officers and a Border Patrol supervisory agent ran a financial shell game that defrauded the Corps. I don’t understand what happened, but apparently the jury in a federal court in San Diego did, as all three were convicted. “Jurors heard evidence that Skinner’s accomplices, former U.S. Marine Corps reservist Maj. Jason Wild and former Lt. Col. Michael Strom, defrauded the Marine Corps out of $205,628 between 2006 and 2010.”
  • As you may know, a master sergeant in the Tennessee Air National Guard got in hot water after a video of her surfaced wearing a dinosaur hand puppet in her re-enlistment ceremony. I think some generals need to lighten up or find some errands to run.
  • 10 Navy SEALs are getting the big boot for drug violations. I’d be interested to know how many have had multiple deployments and are self-medicating. Anyone know?

Finally, an Australian officer who was serving aboard the USS Blue Ridge got vacuumed into the Fat Leonard rich food scandal. Yet the U.S. Navy, having pondered the lessons of the Fat Leonard scandal, has decided that it is going to stop routinely disclosing the reliefs of commanders

Interesting comment from Army Lt. Col. Daniel Sukman in the March issue of ARMY: “the military should highlight the moral and ethical failures of senior leadership before exposure by media or adversary groups.”

In another article in the same issue, retired Army Lt. Col. Pete Kilner makes a similar point, writing that, “the Army is not the CIA. Its operations should be open to public debate and accountable to the American people.”

In short, this is a stupid move by the Navy, and its leaders should be ashamed of themselves. FWIW, this also decreases civilian control. If I were a member of an Armed Services committee, I’d rap some knuckles on this one.

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