This Is One Reason Drinking Aboard Ship Is A Bad Idea
Did you know that just being drunk and stupid while onboard the boat, even if you're not on duty, was one of those general Article 134 offenses? A lot of those little rinky-dink General Article offenses seem a little bit silly, but it turns out that there's a reason you might not want drunk people onboard the ship -- even though we've all seen enough guys being hauled down the ladder, or been a little tipsy coming back from liberty ourselves.
Check out this story that purports to tell why the CO of USS Halsey (DDG 97) got relieved for cause earlier this year. Excerpts:
Cmdr. John J. Pinckney Jr. was relieved after a Navy inquiry revealed how he encouraged other officers and sailors – even those on watch duty – to drink during and after the Nov. 2 reception aboard the Halsey for dignitaries in Kagoshima, Japan.While the main problem here was obviously the CO's decision not to inform the chain of command about what really happened, it made me ponder what might have happened some nights on the boat when most of the crew was pretty much unusable. It's probably not something we can fix (unless you tell the crew they can't drink while on liberty anymore unless they have a place in town), but I'm wondering how close to disaster we've come from similar situations. Does anyone have any sea stories they'd like to relate?
The investigation also indicated that Pinckney changed a report to hide the seriousness of the fire that damaged one of the ship's two main reduction gears, which help drive the propellers.
The Halsey returned to San Diego on Dec. 24 without further incident. But the Navy linked an explosion and fire in the same gear the next month to Pinckney's incomplete account of the first fire...
...Two officers said Pinckney insisted that they drink alcohol even though they told him they were on duty.
“The (command duty officer) and I realized we may be the only sober line officers on the entire ship,” the duty operations officer that day said in a statement to investigators. “I was fed up, and this situation was totally (unsatisfactory).”
Shortly after 10 p.m., alarm bells signaled a fire in a dehumidifying unit of the No. 1 engine room. The duty officers became angry when only about 15 members of the firefighting team responded, several of them too drunk to put on their gear, investigators said.
One officer said he randomly grabbed sober-looking sailors to help out. The blaze was extinguished within minutes, but not before it spread to the main reduction gear.
The duty officers said they had trouble reaching Pinckney, who had retired to his stateroom. Over their objections, he ordered them not to enter the burned area until morning and not to send a report up the chain of command.