Thursday, June 26, 2014

Blue Angels report calls out fighter pilot culture

Excerpt from latest Navy Times article -- “In today’s environment, you can’t survive that way. Ten years ago, that was probably commonplace, I guess,” said Light, a former C-2A Greyhound pilot who has studied toxic leadership closely as a faculty member at the Army War College. “It hasn’t been like that in any of the ready rooms I’ve been in for a really long time.”
Others disagree, arguing that lewd behavior, name-calling and bullying are still present in some squadrons. One of them is Lt. Steve Crowston, who as an ensign in 2009 faced his squadron’s harassment culture head-on when it came time to get his call sign.
Members of Strike Fighter Squadron 136, an F/A-18 Hornet unit based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, offered up ideas like “Gay Boy” and “Fagmeister.” They settled on “Romo’s Bitch,” razzing Crowston for his loyalty to the Dallas Cowboys and their quarterback, Tony Romo.
Crowston, now the education officer on the San Diego-based aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, filed a complaint for workplace sexual harassment with his inspector general, but they found his claims to be unsubstantiated.
He took the case up to the Pentagon’s IG office, where it took a year and a half to be vindicated.
“No new evidence was introduced. How does this happen?” Crowston told Navy Times via email June 10. “I think the court of public opinion knows exactly why Navy pilots escaped substantiated charges at that time. The aviation community is thick as thieves.”
Despite that, Crowston said a stigma has followed him since — through Naval Special Warfare Group 2, Naval Ocean Processing Facility Dam Neck, Virginia, and now the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson.
“While being attached to these commands, I have publicly been called ‘Fag Boy’ in a department head meeting,” said Crowston, who added that he won’t let it drive him out of the Navy.
“I decided to stay Navy in an attempt to be a positive influence and voice for other LGBT service members who for whatever reason are not able to stand up for themselves,” he said.

Full article:

Food for thought:  I've been working with LT Crowston for several years now, advocating for veterans' equal rights and human rights. Like thousands of our veterans, his case show's the dark and ugly side of our military.  I was appalled the first time he told how they used, what I would consider as racial slurs, to describe his "personal" choice in life.  What I hate worse than a liar and a thief are bigots, that are in charge of our military!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hillary Clinton on Removing Military Sexual Assault from Command Chain

Spoken like a true leader!  Meanwhile the house would rather debate over the military's corrupted justice system.   Hillary on the other hand makes command decisions!!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Army Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair Accused of Sexual Assault Demoted, But Will Retire in Lower Grade

NBC News reports – “A U.S. Army general who became the face of a sexual assault problem plaguing the military was demoted two grades from brigadier general to lieutenant colonel before being retired from service.

Jeffrey Sinclair will be retired at the lower rank as punishment for his inappropriate conduct with women under his command, the Army said in a statement. This is the first time in a decade that the Army has reduced a retiring general officer in rank so severely.

Retiring at this lower rank means that Sinclair will not receive benefits he was entitled to as Brigadier General.

"Sinclair displayed a pattern of inappropriate and at times illegal behavior both while serving as a Brigadier General and a Colonel. I therefore decided there was sufficient evidence and cause to deny him those benefits," Secretary of the Army John McHugh said in the statement.

Sinclair admitted to having a longtime affair with a woman under his command. She later accused him of sexually assaulting her on at least two occasions. Two other women also alleged that Sinclair coerced them into sexual relationships.

At a court-martial in March of this year, Sinclair was convicted after pleading guilty to adultery and maltreatment of a subordinate, among other offenses. Sinclair is one of only three general who have faced a court-martial since the 1950s.

For his actions, Sinclair received a $20,000 fine and a reprimand, but no jail sentence. Based on federal law, McHugh said he was unable to take further action.”

Once again, top military officers are allowed to sexually degrade/assault women, carry on adulterous affairs, make terroristic threats (to innocent civilians) and get to retire on tax payers’ dime.  Meanwhile, junior personnel are getting away with murder and raping of our young women (and men) in uniform.  Meanwhile, President Obama addresses the Military Justice Improvement Act with “kid gloves” instead of giving veterans fair and equal justice we have earned and well deserve!!

Related stories:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Thought for the day...

As you nourish my soul

Eat of my earth,
For this is where my spirit lies,
It is where my soul ferments;
Eternal life never dies.

For I bring you riches,
But this is what you have done to me,
For thousands of centuries,
Onto my soil, your soul bleeds.

This has always been your sacrifice to me;
Your sons, your daughters,
Yet it is your soul that bleeds.

For they are you,
As you are I,
Like mine,
Their eternal spirit will never die.
 © 2013  Syneeda Penland

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sailor Files Complaint: Navy Ship Staff Ignoring Pride Month

The Advocate reports -- A former sailor says he has heard complaints from those serving on board the USS Carl Vinson that the ship's commanding officers have been hesitant to promote LGBT Pride Month.

While U.S. Navy ships, bases, and the Pentagon itself are celebrating LGBT Pride month with banners, cakes, and events, at least one San Diego-based aircraft carrier may not be joining the festivities.

Former sailor Sean Sala said he has heard multiple complaints from sailors on board the USS Carl Vinson, who say the command staff has ignored requests for an event observing Pride Month, San Diego ABC affiliate KGTVreports.

When coordinating one event that was verbally approved for the end of the month, a commanding officer said the words "gay and lesbian" could not be spoken over the loudspeaker to promote it. Posters that are already on board the ship show that the term "transgender" has also been removed. While Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said the policy on transgender service members must be reviewed, currently transgender people cannot serve openly in the military, because being transgender is considered a psychological disorder. Transgender civilians, however, do work for the Department of Defense.

The LGBT sailors on board the aircraft carrier said they would have an impromptu private event if their festivities are not officially approved in writing. Meanwhile, a statement from the Navy says the service cannot comment on the specific ship, but that the Navy is "not aware of any scheduled commemoration regarding LGBT Pride Month to be held aboard Carl Vinson."

When is President Obama going to properly address racism, gender and sexual orientation discrimination in the Navy?!  Each year he signs off on the Military's Diversity report which address this very issue. Yet, our veterans' Civil and Human rights are being violated on a daily basis by the Navy's racist Good ol' boys.  I had to put up with this crap for 20 years, and I can only imagine what members of the gay "minority" community are going through.  Too bad Dr. King failed to have this issue addressed during the time he assisted the White House with the passage of the CRA.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Yet the time for CHANGE is NOW!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Navy's top officer, Adm. Greenert, revising U.S. maritime strategy

Navy Times reports -  The U.S. Navy’s top officer asked naval officers, scholars and students at the Naval War College on Tuesday for their help in updating the nation’s maritime strategy, last revised seven years ago when the country was fighting land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert told an audience at the college he needs their suggestions before he signs off this year on a new maritime strategy for the 21st century.

The document helps guide how defense contracts are awarded and where assets are assigned. It was last revised in 2007, in the midst of the two wars and before the economic recession.

The updated strategy will have a new emphasis on cyber warfare and the changing security landscape, and will address such current issues as climate change in the Arctic that has allowed more shipping.

“We have to articulate our being, what we’re about, to our allies and our partners, and our adversaries as well,” Greenert said.

Full article:

Food for thought:  
Since Congress is beginning to loosen it purse strings, (as the carrier Bush is headed to the Gulf, once again) it appears that the Navy is attempting to implement new defense contracting strategies.  Although it sounds like a political move to me….

As if his commanders in the Maritime and Expeditionary community have not found more innovative ways to rig contracts, secretly sell our used assets and accept bribes in the process.  

When I attempted to report my former commanding officer’s role in illegal defense contracting activity to his office several years ago, I was punished and sent to prison, as a federal whistleblower.  At the time Greenert was serving as the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.  And my former CO was the commander of one of his subordinate Maritime/Expeditionary units.

 Let’s pray that Greenert now practices what he preach; “Integrity”.

But let's not forget how enticing greed is for a senior officer(s) approaching his retirement window.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul

It's truly amazing how history sadly repeats itself, what is preserved after war and chaos is "culture."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Color of Change: The Army’s 1st Black, Female 2-Star General on Diversifying the Army

The reports – “Maj. Gen. Marcia Anderson knows a thing or two about leadership and diversity in the Army, and so she should, as the most senior-ranking black woman in the military, a badge she has worn since 2011, when she became the first black, female two-star general.

Being in the position that she is in, and knowing what she knows, Anderson is determined to see the military become more reflective of American society—rich, diverse and inclusive in a healthy way—starting with bumping up the representation of women, who account for only about 15 percent of the whole Army.

"If you're not seated at the table, you are on the menu," Anderson—most recently honored this year at Spelman College's Leadership and Women of Color Conference—told a group of reporters Tuesday on a conference call during which she spoke about the importance of a diverse military and overall culture. "You have to have a lot of different people involved in discussions if we want to improve our organizations."

One example she pointed to is the Army's most recent conundrum regarding Army Regulation 670-1, the grooming standards that came under intense scrutiny from the community. They were said to be unaccommodating to black women with natural hair because they banned certain hairstyles, such as twists, dreadlocks, Afros and braids more than a quarter-inch thick, calling them "unauthorized."

Anderson had a personal claim to this issue. Her own hair had begun to fall out years before because of her penchant for relaxers, and she had to go through steroid treatment to help resolve it.

"I decided to personally involve myself in this particular issue," she said. She went to a senior personnel officer with her own story, recommending that the Army consult hair-and-scalp specialists.

"He took that to heart, a group was convened, they met with a hair-and-scalp specialist who explained some things, and there were some changes in the works—as a consequence of all of this—to update the regulations to reflect a more inclusive approach to grooming while still making sure that soldiers presented the American people [with] a very professional appearance," Anderson added.

It was incredible awareness of how important she was as a black soldier and a female soldier that turned an inadvertent Army Reserve career into a 35-year legacy”…. 

Full article:

Racism and hate starts at home, not everyone (within your ethnic group) shares your same hateful and racist sentiments.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Navy Reprimands Former Blue Angels Commander

ABC News reports -- "In late April, Gregory McWherter was removed from his duties after allegations of misconduct were made by a member of the Blue Angles squadron.   According to the allegations, McWherter had allowed a climate of hazing and sexual harassment during the second of two tours as the commander of the elite flight team.  He had commanded the Blue Angels, from November 2008 to November 2010, and again from May 2011 to November 2012.
The Blue Angels flight demonstration team is a much broader operation than the team of 16 F/A-18 pilots and weapons system officers who performs complex maneuvers at air shows.  The Navy’s best pilots compete for three-year tours with the squadron who are seen as ambassadors for the service.   But the team also includes additional transport pilots, officers and 100 enlisted sailors and Marines who provide maintenance and administrative support for the demonstration team.
According to a Navy press release, an Admiral’s Mast found McWherter guilty of two violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for which he received a non-judicial punishment in the form of a letter of reprimand.   Letters of reprimand usually mean that the recipient will no longer be promoted.
The release said McWherter had been found guilty for “fostering a hostile command climate, failing to stop obvious and repeated instances of sexual harassment, condoning widespread lewd practices within the squadron, and engaging in inappropriate and unprofessional discussions with his junior officers.”
An investigation into the allegations concluded that McWherter “witnessed, condoned, and encouraged behavior that, while juvenile and sophomoric in the beginning, ultimately and in the aggregate, became destructive, toxic, and hostile.”   It also determined that “at no time did the behavior lead to sexual assault.”
“With his implicit and explicit approval of unacceptable behavior, McWherter set a moral standard far below Navy expectations.”.....

Full article:

It appears that senior military officers prefers to sexually exploit our young women, meanwhile the junior enlisted prefers to rape and sexually assault them.  

Yet, it makes you wonder why Congress decided the stale the debate, let alone pass the Military Justice Improvement Act?!

As if we didn't learn enough from the 90s Tailhook incident. 

Read here:

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-California, said in a recent statement that it's "repugnant that a commander who condoned a pervasively hostile environment was allowed to command and thrive in the U.S. Navy. Until a whistleblower came forward, leadership appeared to be blind to the misogyny and sexism-even though it could be found in the pornography permitted in pilot's cockpits and was literally painted on the roof of a training facility in the form of a blue and gold penis, large enough to be visible to satellites. This toxic culture would have been obvious to anyone who bothered to look.

"Commanders willfully ignored the evidence of a toxic environment, and have demonstrated yet again that the chain of command is inadequate to address the plague of sexual assault and harassment in our nation's military.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Moving America Forward, President Obama issued proclamation for Gay Pride Month, What's next?

According to MSNBC, "LGBT rights just got another big push from the president himself."

The article states -- “The White House on Friday issued a proclamation by President Barack Obama calling on Americans to eliminate prejudice “everywhere it exists,” declaring June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.

“As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect – our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well,” the proclamation begins. 

Obama writes that although the gay rights movement saw a massive victory this month last year with Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, giving gay couples married in states where it’s legal the same federal benefits that straight couples receive, full equality is not yet here”…..

Meanwhile, it appears that the Commander in Chief’s latest civil rights initiative doesn’t have the full support from at least one of his senior military commanders, who refuse to allow his crew members to celebrate their “new found” heritage.

According to several insiders on board the aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, the command master chief and skipper is not onboard with allowing the crew to celebrate Gay Pride month.  Yet, Navy captains’ can authorize a steel beach picnic (BBQ on the flight deck) to celebrate the bombing of a defenseless 3rd world country, but they can’t celebrate diversity within the ranks?!

Wow, you would think by now the Navy’s Good Ole’ Boys would end its bigotry and blatant racism towards minorities; this includes members of the LBGT community. 

For 20 years I endured gender, racial and sexual discrimination while serving in the Navy.  I was called every “B” and “N” word those boys could think of, but I stood my ground and survived their chauvinism and mistreatment. 

As a trailblazer, I tolerated the abuse because I wanted to continue to pave the way for the next generation, which is what President Obama is doing.  Pushing America forward, past hate, prejudice and racism!   Thank you Mr. President!

Monday, June 2, 2014

May we continue to honor does who serve, and be thankful to those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom

A special prayer to, Col. William Whitten, my dear friend, you will surely be missed.  May our dearly departed Maj. Gloria Davis welcome you into God’s kingdom with a proper hand salute, to thank you for your service!  We love you and may you forever rest in peace.

R.I.P. Maj. Gloria Davis and Col. William Whitten

A Special Veteran’s Prayer

Dear Lord,
May we continue to honor our country's veterans,
across all law enforcement agencies,
the brave men and women, 
"Soldiers of Valor"
who give their best
when they are called to bear arms, 
to protect and defend our great nation.

Lord, bless them for their courage,
for their unselfish duty and sacrifice
in preserving the rights, freedom,
and liberty of every American citizen.

As you prepare your Heavenly Kingdom to
receive yet another "Fallen Soldier", 
I ask that you welcome him 
and render him a proper salute 
for doing his very best.

Will, my dear friend, who I loved like a brother,
may you rest in peace; you will truly be missed.

In the name of the Holy Spirit we pray.