On Social Awareness: Injustice, Corruption, Veteran Advocacy Support, Human Rights Advocate and simply "Telling the Truth", even if it hurts!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Was this a Political move for the U.S. Navy?
African-American woman makes history as new CO of USS Mitscher
WVEC.COM ABC Channel 13 News
NORFOLK -- History was made
Friday as Cmdr. Monika Washington Stoker took command of the Norfolk-based
guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher.
She's the first
African-American woman serving as Commanding Officer of an Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided missile destroyer, the Navy said.
"It says that you do
whatever you want to do, whether it's in the military or not and don't let
anyone tell you that you can't," Stoker said.
She relieved Cmdr. Brian
Sorenson, who served as commanding officer for two years.
Stoker, a native of
Greensboro, N.C., served as USS Mitscher's Executive Officer since June 2010.
Food for thought:
As "Black History
Month" slowly draws to an end, the Navy wanted to go down in history to
prove they are still moving at a snail’s pace on improving racial and gender
I must admit, the headline
of this article did immediately grab my attention.
I was a bit disappointed
after reading the last sentence; "CDR Stoker had served as the XO onboard
the Mitscher since June 2010.”
Having served in the Navy
for nearly 20 years, I view this as a slap in the face, not just to women of
color, but to all female Surface Warfare officers.
Instead of transferring CDR
Stoker to a new ship where she could competitively test and prove her
leadership skills, the Navy chose to let her “fleet up” and assume command of a
ship she’d served on for over a year in a half.
Is this a fair or unfair advantage?!
The Navy was definitely
playing it safe this time; I guess they wanted to avoid another "Holly
I'm sure we all recall the
infamous Holly Graf, nicknamed by journalists, "Horrible
Captain Graf was the first
white female to command an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS
Winston Churchill and the first to command a Ticonderoga-class guided missile
cruiser, USS Cowpens.
Unfortunately while in
command of both ships the Navy's poster child failed miserably as a leader.
In early 2010 the former Commanding Officer of the USS Cowpens was
relieved of command after creating an extremely hostile working environment and
poisonous atmosphere for her crew.
Her story is one of the
worse examples of proven failed Navy
leadership, yet one of the best examples of military workplace abuse. Even after numerous allegations of mistreatment
of her crew members were substantiated by a Navy IG investigation, next month
Captain Graf will be retiring from the Navy with her full pension intact.
She will most likely be
offered a handsome defense contracting position, like the rest of her fellow
Navy Academy graduates.
And I’m sure there sons and
daughters will continue to carry on their family traditions…
Despite the outcome of the
Navy’s final IG investigation reports, indicating my chain of command did not commit
reprisal acts against me, Holly’s mistreatment of her crew members will never
measure up to what they did to me. I'll
save those details for a later blog and further in-depth details are outlined in my memoir.
Nevertheless, I'm still
proud of Commander Stoker!
I'm sure she will continue
to be an outstanding leader and prove to the Good ol' Boys, " Women don't have to
be a tyrant and act like one of them to get the job."
I wish her much success as
the new Commanding of the USS Mistcher.