Discipline for Seamen

If you must, it should be realistic. Captain disagrees, CEO gives direction, HR assigns AB to another vessel. Done deal.

Captain runs vessel with new AB. HR followed orders of CEO. CEO retains the employee in the organization.

Captain still disagrees and makes a scene; CEO fires Captain. Captain resigns instead. HR gets off at 5PM, stops for a chicken salad at Chick-fil-a, but not before sending the termination notice at 4:59PM.


I had this more or less happen to me, but on land. I had a welder that was screwing off and welding about half the plate per day as I could and I don’t know how to weld very well at all and he tended to be missing in action for unexplained reasons.
I fired him, he had some connection to the owner, he got put back on the payroll and I had nothing more to do with him but process his paycheck and I left that job and the boat he was “fixing” eventually got sold for scrap. Once the chain of command bypasses you, you have no more authority IMHO and need to leave ASAP.
This is also ruinous to general morale because you have “friends of the boss” and “regular guys” and the friends make SURE everyone else knows they are untouchable.

Another historical case, near and dear to some mariners’ hearts:
In 1915, Ernest Shackleton and his crew abandoned the ship Endurance, as the ship was crushed by the Antarctic ice pack. For 13 months Shackleton and his crew of 22 struggled across the pack ice and open ocean to save themselves. All 22 men survived to be rescued in April of 1916. A famous story.

Now, who saved them? The common answer is Shackleton, who some mariners revere as a god of leadership. But arguably you could also say the real hero was the ship’s carpenter, Harry Mc Nish. McNish altered what was essentially an open lifeboat into a decked craft capable of sailing across 800 miles of open ocean, using a few hand tools and scrap wood. No one else in the crew could have done it…

But McNish had a sharp tongue and a knack for speaking his mind. According to Shackleton, Mc Nish fomented a near mutiny during the ordeal. Shackleton said he brought McNish along on the boat journey just so the carpenter wouldn’t cause trouble with the crew left behind, while Shackleton, McNish, and four others sailed for help.

After everyone was rescued, Shackleton made sure McNish didn’t get the Polar Medal, awarded to the heroes by the British government. Because even though McNish arguably saved the crew, McNish had crossed a line in Shackleton’s mind. Everyone shared the danger, nearly everyone was useful, and most people toed the line. But McNish didn’t, and in Shackleton’s mind there had to be a punishment of some sort for that.

To this day, some people advocate that McNish should be awarded the medal posthumously.


Lesson in that. If you are a huge A-hole with a unique skill, you get to be King Butthead for awhile, but behind the scenes everyone else is figuring out how to replace you.


This has my seal of approval

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They have none other than the shame they feel for being American. Don’t forget, this is the same contingent who vehemently supported the delivery of a PALLET of hard cash to a state sponsor of terrorism because “we owed it to them”. Also the same ilk who feel that killing the enemy and being proud of it is:

Classic stage three behavior.


The administrative review that was planned would not have affected the retirement at all. After the court-martial reduction he would have retired as an E6. After the president restored him to Chief, he would retire as an E7. The question is whether he would remain a Seal.

I spent 28 years in the USN and I was a mustang. IMHO the actions taken by Trump, while legal, are terrible for good order and discipline in the armed services.


Thank you ocnslr for giving us your perspective & for the years of service. IMHO, it’s only yours & other retired & active military service personnels opinions & reactions to this that matters. The warriors on the battlefield & the command structure that support them will eventually let us know if this was good or bad. Will the warriors be more reckless, have higher moral, niether or both? Will officers feel undermined from the POTUS or will they feel like they have more freedom from the politicians in uniform in DC & an ultimate Designated Person at the top if all other avenues of recourse fails? Only time will tell. It should have been avoided & not come to this in my uninformed & stupid opinion eitherway.

From what I read in the news & watched in an interview, the POTUS gave a verbal order to the Secretary not to proceed with formal proceedings to take away Gallaghers Seal Trident & later notified the public of the order via Twitter (lol, I know right?). The secretary told the media on Sunday morning that he would obey the order without question once he received it again in writing. Obviously many in the military would feel equally disheartened by a Secretary of the Navy avoiding a verbal order given by the POTUS that he already made public. I think it is a messed up situation all the way around but as a career Navy man do you think Trumps or Spencers action was worse than the other? If you don’t have an opinion thats cool too because it’s a train wreck for sure as usually is the case now a days.

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The “CEO” in this case the President, stepped in to ensure the “AB” received his retirement benefits. Being reduced from E-7 to E-6 would have affected his retirement, and in a pretty significant way over the course of a lifetime. To say him retiring as an E6 would not have affected his retirement is just not true. I have a little experience in this also, having served 20 years in active Army and National Guard and retiring as an E-6.
While I understand your concern about good order and discipline, I attended several reenlistment ceremonies while in Iraq and can’t recall anyone wanting a dead body in the reenlistment picture. I cant imagine that changing too much because of one highly publicized case.


Max Boot in the WP

Former FBI director James Comey has published in the New York Times the most insightful analysis I have read of how President Trump corrupts those who work for him — such as Attorney General William P. Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. “Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from,” Comey writes. “It takes character like Mr. [Jim] Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites

Just a small bite out of the Navy’s upper command.

If so, you’d be familiar with the concept of hi-3, he’d get his pay based on time as an E7, his 36 months of highest pay. And that wouldn’t have anything to do with keeping his trident. The CEO didn’t do this to prevent a guy from losing retirement dollars he doesn’t have that kind of empathy and he didn’t make any statements to that affect in taking the bizarre action. He did it cause the TV people said so and good people said he shouldn’t—that is the extent of his rational calculus, if people fill in more palatable reasons along the way and see if anyone believes them and pretend like that was what he meant all along that’s just propaganda, but it has nothing to do with his reasons.

And the particulars of the case involve more than the a dead body in a photo. He may have avoided a murder charge by a partners bombshell testimony but the entire thing is something that is deeply suspect and that’s why the board was gonna meet to look at it all since there was clearly something wrong with this AB that made him undesirable to leaders and colleagues on the battlefield—and at least he’s off it so something of a victory for law and order if you see beyond the moment.


My comment was clear when I stated that the administrative review would not have affected his retirement. He had already been restored to E7, and the administrative review was going to address his status as a Seal. The outcome of that review by his peers would not have affected his retirement.

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And retirement rank isnt a done deal. Was he an E7 for 3 years? Perhaps the news is making this confusing- fro. abc news, Earlier this month, Trump restored Gallagher’s rank to E-7 (Chief Petty Officer) so that he could retire with full benefits.

There are other responses that accurately capture the real reasons why POTUS took this series of actions, so I will not add to that discussion.

Nor will I get into the SecNav-SecDef-POTUS political play.

I will say that commanders, i.e. those in the specific role of command, whether company level, ship CO, field level, or higher, have unique responsibilities and authority. They are not beyond error when taking judicial actions under the UCMJ, and there is a system for review of CM actions that works pretty well - to the Convening Authority and higher. When uninformed, political decisions and actions are taken to contravene lower actions, it is usually to the detriment of good order and discipline.

On a much broader scale, and as touched on by SecNav in his resignation letter, those of us who have taken an oath of office have sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We have not sworn to defend an individual, or to take actions to protect a corrupt political power structure. We have seen this numerous times as these strong military and Foreign Service officers have come forward to “speak the truth to power”. IMHO, our country would be far better served if all those in Congress would remember their oath of office as well.


Maybe this is where I got confused in your comment-
After the court-martial reduction he would have retired as an E6

I’ve been out of the Navy for a while, but I’ve worked with it ever since then.

There is a certain amount of rot at the flag level that everyone, except maybe the flags themselves, is aware of. You certainly see it on the acquisition side of the house.

Keep in mind the Navy had ample time to pull the Chief’s quals, prior to this. They did it now because the prosecution largely failed and they were mad they didn’t get the outcome they wanted. IME, vindictive officers aren’t unique.

Someone on another board summed it up pretty well. No SECNAV or CNO resigned over Fat Leonard, ships colliding & running aground, LCS issues, or the failures on CVN 78. But when the Prez steps in on a screwed up personnel issue they suddenly find a spine. Priorities?

Remember how Spencer vowed to resign if FORD didn’t leave PSA with all of her elevators working? He found a way to sooth his conscience when he broke that promise, but quit over a qual issue with someone who was retiring shortly. His priorities seem a bit skewed to me.

I found Spencer’s resignation letter funny. He goes on about maintaining good order & discipline, but he, himself, was playing games and failed to keep his immediate boss in the loop.


It was my understanding that his resignation was a forced one which when done in secret won’t go on a resume for future employment opportunities. But since everyone knows about him being asked to resign I don’t know the point of covering it up with the fancy words. He’ll write a book about it & make a million or two or go on to work for other politicians if the opportunity comes up. It takes more training & harder work to become a SEAL & Gallagher will be harder to replace than Spencer. There’s thousands of suits in the Pentagon who will be fighting for Spencer’s old job & not one will ever be shot at or have to jump out of a helicopter in the middle of the night.

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Limiting my response to your original question, “a well run company or not”?
Assuming the conduct violation was small and insignificant (smoking in his cabin, for example),
Because the CEO has created a hostile working environment between the captain and the AB,
However, if the AB is put on another vessel in the fleet months afterward, and the HR guy is still employed, “YES”.

And if I was the captain, the CEO, in addition to having to find a new HR person, will have to find a new captain!!! And in my departure, I would so “monkey-wrench” as many things as I could.

My $.02 here about SECDEF, SECNAV, and the Seal.

Let’s start off with pre-trial.

USN kept Chief Gallagher incarcerated and apparently unavailable to his attorneys for a prolong period. Furthermore, the warfighter was undergoing treatment for TBI.

The USN’s prosecutor was removed from the case for misconduct - tracking the defense’s emails!!

So there is plenty of USN misconduct in this case. And that’s what got the attention of the Commander-in-Chief.

Chief Gallager’s only crime was the photograph of him with the dead guy (does the UCMJ prohibit such photography?). Yeah, it’s in poor taste to me, but I’m not a Seal either. Just a combat veteran from Viet Nam, that has seen many “poor taste” pictures from that period.

IMHO, reduction in rank is too severe of a punishment, ESPECIALLY when the man was starting to retire, after 8 deployments and decades of honorable and distinguished (Gold Crow & Service Stripes on his uniform) service. That picture was not worth over $200,000.00 in penalties, which the reduction in rank would have cost.

Regarding the review process; The Seal command has had several months to review Chief Gallagher’s infraction, but Admiral Green chose to announce it after the Commander-in-Chief had restored Gallager’s rank. Green’s announcement smacks totally of “Foxtrot Yankee”!!

SECNAV, going behind the back of SECDEF to make arrangements for a review, a review with a PRE-ORDAINED RESULT, further indicates the aforementioned rot at flag rank, as mentioned by another forum member. All of the admirals that were in agreement with SECNAV’s decision and actions should also resign. They are not fit to lead the esteemed members of the USN.

Lastly, and unfortunately, USN admirals have not always exercised good judgement. And years later, it was CIVILIANS who corrected the wrong. And “Good order and discipline” was not negatively impacted. What am I referring to? Captain Charles B. McVay III. He was the only USN captain courtmartialed for the sinking of his ship, the USS INDIANAPOLIS. It was 55 years after the sinking that justice prevailed. The problem is that the exoneration was issued posthumously.


IMHO, CinC got it right in this case and the other two who were pardoned!!


I personally know only one retired SEAL. I asked him about all the controversy about this Gallager fellow and he was very brief. He said “Gallager needs to STFU.”