Monday, May 14, 2012

A Haunting and Tragic "Suicide"? or Maybe Not!


In the headline for today's featured story on,  editor in chief, Ret. Major Glenn MacDonald, blows us away once again, with his in-depth investigative journalism.  This time with never before told details surrounding the tragic death (alleged suicide) of Admiral Mike Boorda, who successfully rose through the ranks from becoming an enlisted seaman to being promoted to the highest ranking position in the U.S. Navy,  Chief of Naval Operations.  

Glen writes...

You should know, dear reader, we are not among those who despised ADM Jeremy "Mike" Boorda. In fact, we did and always will admire this fine man, who went all the way from Seaman to Chief of Naval Operations. No one has done it before, and it's very likely no one else will accomplish such a feat in the future.

ADM Boorda deserves our respect and remembrance as a great leader who deeply cared about his sailors and country.

On this, the 16th anniversary of his mysterious death, we should mourn his loss, but also demand the Pentagon come clean on what really happened in the Washington Navy Yard on May 16, 1996
The "official story" - that Boorda committed suicide because he was shamed over wearing two attachments to ribbons that he may or may not have earned - is ludicrous on its face. In the 12 years has been on line, we have not run into one Navy enlisted member or officer who buys that steaming kettle of fish.

Mike Campbell, a now-retired civilian Navy public affairs officer, knew Boorda personally, worked with him, and says "no way" did the former CNO take his own life. Retired submariner Mike Keating of Chandler, AZ agrees. "Mike Boorda was a better man than that," he said. Mark Carter, a retired Navy petty officer from Richmond, ME thinks the Navy has engineered a cover-up. "I wouldn't be surprised if he was murdered," the Maine native said.

However, the mainstream media has not shared the widespread skepticism of the Navy rank-and-file. No investigative articles have appeared in the New York TIMES or Washington POST. A check of shows no books have been written, not a one about the case, in the 16 years since Boorda's bizarre death. Why not?

Is the Boorda "suicide" the "third rail" of American journalism? Or does the establishment media - more in the pocket of the Pentagon than many realize - not care to speculate on what has to be one of the most baffling unsolved mysteries in U.S, military history.
Let's go back to 1996 and study the circumstances that led to the tragedy of Mike Boorda's untimely death.

He had already told friends and fellow officers he planned to retire from the Navy in a matter of months.

Three days before he died he told Master Chief of the Navy John Hagen he was getting done in August. "I'd like to do something like make money, fly a plane, buy a boat."

Does that sound like a man who, just 72 hours later, would fire a bullet into his chest and go down in history as the first Chief of Naval Operations to bear the stigma of committing suicide? Not hardly.

But there is more.
It isn't widely known that one of Boorda's four children, David, suffered from Cerebral Palsy. The admiral dearly loved his first-born son. A caring and thoughtful man toward strangers, Boorda would not leave his beloved wife Bettie behind in such a way to end up sole caregiver to their disabled eldest son.

Did the Navy's first Jewish CNO have some deep-seated tendency to self-destruct, as the Pentagon spinmeisters would have you believe? We invite you to read the following words from a speech Boorda gave at the U.S. Naval Academy just one month before his death.

"Can the sailor commit suicide and not have the leader know that he or she was in distress? No, we can't ignore things we must work on. If we hide them, we do everybody a disservice."
Part of the "official story" is Boorda became unhinged when he learned muckrakingNEWSWEEK columnist David Hackworth and another reporter from the news magazine were coming on May 16th to confront him about the wearing of "unauthorized" V for valor devices on two of the CNO's combat medals.

But when a concerned Rear Admiral Kendell Pease, the Navy's chief information officer, asked Boorda what he was going to do, the CNO calmly remarked (in front of witnesses): "Well, we'll just tell them the truth." And the truth was, when advised in 1995 that the ribbon devices may not be allowed, Boorda removed them immediately and told his staff what he had done. There was no intention to hide or deceive, despite what Hackworth and National Security News Service correspondent Roger Charles suspected.

Now, let's stop here for a moment and analyze what we know. Boorda did not at anytime exhibit fear, dread, uneasiness, or trepidation about the upcoming visit from the inquiring reporters. He was on record as planning what to do in his retirement, coming in a very few months. Boorda cherished his family and would never do anything to harm or cause them pain. A man who climbs all the way from swabbie to CNO, and serves 40 years in the Navy, does not blow himself away over something as relatively trivial as what he faced.
Yes, Boorda had been publicly attacked by the sometimes surly former Navy Secretary James Webb. In a blistering speech given at the Naval Academy, the blunt-speaking Vietnam veteran tore into Boorda for many of the Navy's ills.

"Some (Navy leaders) are guilty of the ultimate disloyalty. To save or advance their careers, they have abandoned the very ideals of their profession in order to curry favor with politicians."

We might add here, the snub-nosed Webb knows all about "currying favor with politicians" of both parties. Originally a Democrat, he became a Republican and served one turbulent year as Secretary of the Navy in Ronald Reagan's administration. In recent years, we have seen him flip-flop back to the Democrats and compile a voting record as senator from Virginia that largely supports the programs of leftist President Barack Hussein Obama.

Webb's verbal assault and a vitriolic unsigned letter run in the Navy TIMES, may have annoyed Boorda, but a man with his strength of character doesn't usually take the coward's way out of committing suicide and at the same time, damaging the Navy he loved all his life.
have to give the Pentagon propagandists a lot of credit for getting their version of events sold to the media and public.

As a former PAO myself, one who knows what "plausible denials" are and has taught journalism to enlisted members and officers alike, rule number one on controlling a potentially unbelievable story is to find a respected "mainstream media" journalist who will go along with whatever is fed him, grateful for having a big story and the full cooperation of the powers-that-be.

Such a writer was Pulitzer Prize-winner Nick Kotz, a veteran of the Washington POST, who wrote a lengthy article on Boorda's "suicide" in the December 1996 issue of Washingtonian Magazine. The 20,000-word piece called "BREAKING POINT" dove-tailed completely with the Navy's version of what happened at the Washington Navy Yard.
The story even quoted from one of two notes that Boorda allegedly typed up (but curiously didn't sign). One was said to be addressed to his family, the other "To my sailors." It is that one that we reproduce below:

"What I am about to do isn't very smart, but it is right for me. You see, I have asked you to do the right thing, to care for and take care of each other and to stand up for what is good and correct. All of these things require honor, courage and commitment . . . our core values.

"I am about to be accused of wearing combat devices on two ribbons I earned during sea tours in Vietnam. It turns out I didn't really rate them. When I found out I was wrong, I immediately took them off, but it really was too late. I don't expect any reporters to believe I could have made an honest mistake, and you may or may not believe it your-selves. That is up to you, and isn't all that important now anyway. I've made it not matter in the big scheme of things because I love our Navy so much, and you who are the heart and soul of our Navy, that I couldn't bear to bring dishonor to you."

Well, if you believe that, you'll buy Jill Metzger's lies along with the Brooklyn Bridge.

Note the way the "farewell note" is written. Not at all like Boorda spoke or wrote himself. It's style is melodramatic and hitting all the "talking points" as to why the Navy's top officer would painfully kill himself less than 90 days before an eagerly-anticipated retirement. We suspect this "note" (which was quoted to friendly reporter Kotz, but not released in copy or any other form to the public) was written by someone who wanted to make sure the reader would be lulled into thinking Boorda suddenly decided to kill himself so he wouldn't, and we quote, "bring dishonor" to the Navy.
One Navy veteran who doesn't believe that for a moment is a retired chief medical corpsman now living in Florida.

He can't risk having his name published (that always gives the trolls and critics of MCC fodder to attack us, but it can't be helped) for obvious reasons. But he says Boorda had "two gunshot wounds to the upper torso, not one." Oops. How could Mike Boorda blast himself at close range with hollow-point bullets from a .38 (said to have been given him by his son-in-law, a lawyer for NCIS) and then pull the trigger again? Yeah, right.
It has been 16 long years and the Navy still refuses to release the autopsy report. Why? If Boorda shot himself like the official story goes, what's to hide? The results would confirm the single shot to the sternum that ripped through the admiral's body and exited his back, doing terrible damage to the internal organs, including the heart as it tore into his torso.

If for no other reason than to halt the spate of conspiracy theories out there - one woman, a Kay Griggs (you can find her on Google) states her ex-husband, a Marine colonel, was a trained assassin and may have played a role in Boorda's untimely demise - the Navy should release both the autopsy report and original "note" Boorda allegedly wrote. The one to his family can and should remain private.

If the admiral would take the time to type out the two notes, why wouldn't he take two seconds and sign them at the bottom? Unless someone else did the writing?
The death gun is said to have been a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver given the CNO by his son-in-law to "protect" him and his family from possible "intruders." Wouldn't you think with all the Marines and Navy personnel at the Washington Navy Yard, many with loaded weapons of their own, that Admiral Boorda and his family in historic Tingey House wouldn't have to arm themselves?

And what military officer doesn't know that the swiftest and surest way of killing oneself is to use a .45 or 9mm pistol. Just place the muzzle in the mouth against the soft palate, tilt the head upwards and squeeze the trigger. "Gut-shooting" yourself, even with illegal hollow-point bullets, is no guarantee of success when you want to commit suicide.

We are sure the carpers and critics will be out in force attacking us for even mentioning this case. "Kill the messenger" is SOP. Well, we won't be intimidated. Whatever happened to Mike Boorda back then, deserves to be known now. And only the gullible and willing fools want to "look the other way."

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Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone believes the story the Navy told about the device on a stinking ribbon. Boorda had enough integrity to admit it was wrong if it was wrong. If, in fact, he should not have worn the device, he would have used it as an example and a training lesson. The suggestion that he would have taken his life over something that stupid is, well, stupid. It would send the message of promoting suicide over innocent mistakes. NOT the message Admiral Boorda would want to send. The Navy makes up stories all the time.

Syneeda said...

I always admired Adm. Boorda and I never believed he took his own life!!