Home » Foreign Forces » Officer Punished for 2016 Farsi Island Incident Allowed to Stay in Navy


Officer Punished for 2016 Farsi Island Incident Allowed to Stay in Navy

Riverine Command Boat (RCB) 802’s boat captain, Lt. David Nartker, assigned to Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.7, checks his boat’s communications system operating in the Persian Gulf in 2015. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated to include a staetment from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.

The officer in charge of 10 U.S. Navy sailors captured by Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf last year will be allowed to stay in the service, his attorney said.

On Tuesday, a three-sailor board of inquiry voted to let Lt. David Nartker stay in the Navy after he received a punitive letter of reprimand for his role in the capture of himself and nine other riverine sailors by members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN), after two boats he commanded drifted into Iranian waters during a transit in the Persian Gulf.

The board of inquiry proceeding — held at Imperial Beach, Calif. from April 17 to 18 — follow a September ruling that placed a letter of reprimand in Nartker’s file for violating Article 92 – failure to obey an order or regulation — of the Uniform Code Military Justice. The BOI to see if Nartker would remain in the service was triggered after the letter of reprimand was issued.

“I believe, in the end, the system worked,” Phillip Lowry, Nartker’s defense attorney, told USNI News on Thursday.
“Once this got outside of the realm of the Pentagon and got to the levels of peers being able to review his conduct – O6s and O5s that were in the trenches with him as an officer – I knew that they would make the right call.”

Foreign Policy first reported the story on Wednesday.

“Boards of Inquiry (BOI) are administrative hearings held for officers who have failed to maintain the required standards of professional proficiency or personal conduct,” read a statement from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr.Jen Cragg provided to USNI News.
“Lt. Nartker’s involvement in the January 2016 riverine boat incident warranted the convening of this board. The board determined that Lt. Nartker should be retained in the Navy. That decision is final.”

The Jan. 12, 2016, incident leveled intense scrutiny on the Navy’s deployed riverine community and resulted in a months-long investigation that concluded failures up and down the chain of command led to Nartker’s capture by the IRGCN.

Nartker said he was trying to prevent an international incident when he and his sailors were captured.

“We might have all been dead at that point in time. I didn’t want to start a war with Iran either. That was also on my mind. I didn’t want to start a war that would get people killed. My thought at the end of the day was that no one had to die for a misunderstanding,” Nartker told investigators
“I made the gamble that they were not going to kill us. I made the gamble that they’re not going to Tehran and parade us around like prisoners of war — because they want this nuke deal to go through. … What’s the commander’s intent here, the highest commander’s intent? The Commander-in-Chief would not want me to start a war over a mistake, over a misunderstanding.”

While the BOI recommended he be allowed to stay in the service, Nartker’s career in the Navy will likely be curtailed, Rob “Butch” Bracknell, a former Marine and military lawyer, told USNI News on Thursday.

“He will never get promoted again. This was all about when he left the Navy, and with what characterization of service on his discharge,” he said.
“He has no career going forward. He will finish his obligated service, fail selection to O4 a couple times, and leave with a nice payout of separation pay to help fund his attendance at business school.”

The following is the complete statement from NECC provided to USNI News.

— A Board of Inquiry took place for Lt. David Nartker at Coastal Riverine Group 1 headquarters in Imperial Beach, California April 17-18. Boards of Inquiry (BOI) are administrative hearings held for officers who
have failed to maintain the required standards of professional proficiency or personal conduct. The boards are held to determine if the Navy will retain the officer for continued service. Lt. Nartker’s involvement in the January 2016 riverine boat incident warranted the convening of this board. The board determined that Lt. Nartker should be retained in the Navy. That decision is final.

— Commander, Navy Personnel Command, directed Navy Region Southwest to convene the BOI to determine if Lt. David Nartker should be retained
for continued naval service.

— A board composed of at least three, senior commissioned officers receives evidence and gives the officer a fair and impartial hearing so that the officer may argue as to why he or she should be retained in the Navy. In this instance, the board determined the officer should be retained in the Navy and the case against the officer is closed.

  • Aaron GrandeCorazón Clark

    I’m glad he was able to stay Navy. Having officers who have learned from their mistakes makes for a strong Navy!

    • Ron Snyder

      He is going to be forced out when his current obligation is up (good!), so where do you see the service benefiting? He should not be given an honorable discharge.

    • NavySubNuke

      Normally I’d agree with you but I have no stomach for someone who violates the code of conduct in the manner in which he did.
      When the chips were down he folded. That is not a mistake you can “learn” from – that is a character flaw.
      He had others he could have learned from unfortunately I can’t post the link. Just google “Stockdale: US POW Beats Face With Stool, Cuts Scalp & Wrists to Prevent Being Used As Propaganda”

      • draeger24

        yep….it’s amazing that Officers are relived of command for such small infractions, yet, this guy in essence “gave up his command” to a hostile force, and they let him “Stay”? I would like to know what the ROE briefing was. Some of the CRU-DES guys that have NOT fired on fast boats approaching them should be fired as well.

    • Aubrey

      No. Just no.

      He didn’t just violate his oath, he prostituted it for the lowest and most foolish of motives. His dishonorable discharge should not even have needed discussion.

    • muzzleloader

      What did he learn? How does his incompetence and lack of character make for a strong Navy? He violated the creed “do not give up the ship”. He brought reproach on his country, his uniform and the Naval Service. He should have been forced to resign his commission. At this point I hope he will be passed over for promotion and forced out.

      • James Bowen

        The only mistake I can see on his part is a navigational error that put them in this situation. His decision to submit to arrest, while humiliating, was probably the best call here. The Iranians could and should have been much better sports about this, but at the end of the day our boats were in their territorial waters and opening fire would have been a blatant act of war on our part. The only difference between this situation and the P-3 that made an emergency landing on Hainan in 2001, where the crew of the P-3 were lauded as heroes, was that here we actually did violate their territorial waters.

        • Duane

          It is a violation of the naval code of conduct to surrender your command to a hostile force when you have the means to resist, as he did.

          The officer claims he was trying to avert an international incident, which is not within his purview or paygrade to determine. More than likely, it was cowardice in the face of a hostile force.

          • Bowling Green Massacre

            Meh, you would do the same thing… just visit Iran sometime and you will agree,

          • James Bowen

            He did not surrender. He submitted to an arrest after trespassing due to a navigational error. A mistake, definitely; poor seamanship, maybe; but misconduct before an enemy, no way.

            He was not authorized to be in those waters in the first place.

          • Niki Ptt

            Well, as far as international laws go, it was a misconduct from the Iranians sailors.
            But you can only imagine what the US Navy would do if an unannounced iranian warship showed up less than 12nm from Norfolk, San Diego or Diego Garcia…

          • PolicyWonk

            Hmmm. I’d read that the Iranians were completely professional throughout the incident. Here we had clearly trespassed into their waters (due to a rookie-level navigational error) with armed-to-the-teeth crews.

            The Iranians pretty much acted as we would’ve had they entered our waters under similar circumstances.

          • Duane

            You’re playing word games, dude. He surrendered his command. That is why he was reprimanded and now is naval career is over. That is indisputable.

          • James Bowen

            The phrase “surrendered his command” implies that a state of war existed with Iran at the time or that our boats were attacked. A state of war did not exist, we were in their territorial waters, and although we were threatened we were not attacked. He and his boats should not have been where they were, and not resisting was the decision that resulted in the best possible outcome.

          • Duane

            Surrendered his command does not imply anything. It means he surrendered his command. That is forbidden under the Code of Conduct. There is no requirement or need for any state of war – we have not had a declared war since 1941.

          • James Bowen

            We have, however, been under numerous authorizations to use force under the War Powers Resolution, or at the very least orders from the President. None of those applied to this situation. He had no permission to be there or to engage the Iranians. I am pretty sure the Code of Conduct does not call for commanding officers or any other military personnel to commit acts of war against other nations without orders to do so. Although this would have never happened had he not been there in the first place, once it did happen the actions he took were appropriate for the situation.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    So, in other words, no real punishment at all.

    I wonder at the precedent.
    Does every officer now weigh up every situation through the lens of its potential global geopolitical ramifications?
    Or do they just do their job?

    • Smokey

      He screwed up by the numbers and should have paid the price.

    • Western

      Especially the missile techs and the torpedomen. As they perform final checks and get ready to shoot, how many say, “I think the President really does not want to do this, therefore I need to halt this firing order.”
      How many Officers on Deck will see the oncoming small boat flotilla, and not give the command to defend the ship for fear of “starting a war.”
      This decision is going to get people killed.

    • S. K. Coker

      Well said, Corp K. I’d be willing to bet a paycheck he wasn’t quick enough to weigh all those strategic decisions in his mind at the time…he was only thinking about saving his a$$ and the sailors with him. His mission, as the craft commander, was NOT his priority. He’s very lucky he got off with what he received.

  • Uncle Mike

    Mark my words: This snowflake will run for office some day.

    • Aubrey

      There are a lot of folks in the Pentagon who want to give him a flag right now.

      • NavySubNuke

        But not nearly as many as their used to be in Dec 16 and the ~8 years before that….

        • Duane

          The officer corps does not “switch parties” after presidential elections.

          • NavySubNuke

            I never said or even implied that they did —- Aubrey’s comment was about “a lot of folks in the Pentagon” — which in my mind referenced the political appointees, both those in confirmed positions and those in positions that don’t require confirmation.

          • Duane

            There aren’t “a lot of folks in the Pentagon” who are political appointees. Of the 10,000 or so Pentagon staff as of today, only a small, tiny handful are appointed by the President.

          • NavySubNuke

            Again with your fixation on the minutia – you should learn to step back, take a deep breath and enjoy the forest some time rather than just staring at the bark of an individual tree with a magnifying glass.

          • Duane

            No – you are attempting to impeach the honor and character of those who serve in the Pentagon. You are wrong. That is not minutia.

          • NavySubNuke

            Oh Duane you really don’t get it. No worries though, I realize you’re just a bitter old man.

          • Duane

            I believe you just described yourself .. your bitterness against the men and women who honorably serve their country working in the Pentagon (which is only a temporary assignment) is evident. You’re projecting.

          • NavySubNuke

            I’m not bitter at them in the slightest – I just realize reality. Not that I expect someone like you who spent your life as cog in the man’s machine sucking up to these people to realize that.

          • Duane

            Glad to hear you’re so awesome that you have your very own national system to prop you up, so you don’t have to dirty yourself by associating with the United States of America. Must be awesome to be a legend in your own mind, as you clearly are.

          • NavySubNuke

            Oh Duane, you still don’t get it. That’s ok though – if you understood more we wouldn’t be having this conversation and I wouldn’t have this to laugh about.

        • PAUL OBR

          WHY DONT YOU 2 GUYS GO POUND SALT YOU KNOW WHEAR..

          • NavySubNuke

            Sure thing troll – thanks for coming out from under your bridge to share that bit of insight.

  • Niki Ptt

    Ok, so to all persons blaming this guy and considering him as a shame for the Navy, what would have you done in his position?

    • NavySubNuke

      Read over the code of conduct some time – what I would have done is actually followed it.

      • Niki Ptt

        I read it. Wrote by a USMC Colonel, ain’t it? I suggest you read the Executive Order 10631 which introduced it.
        Ok, I’m in a good mood, I’ll save you the effort. “Every member of the Armed Forces of the United States are expected to
        measure up to the standards embodied in this Code of Conduct while he is
        in combat or in captivity.”
        This wasn’t a combat. They were conveying the boats. And the USAs are not at war with Iran as far as I recall.
        So, in my opinion, the Lt commanding the two-boats squadron did the right thing by not resisting when he was boarded. They were US military personnels in Iran’s uncontested national waters. Opening fire (with the limited firepower thay had available) would have been the mother of all bad decisions in that case, as the US Navy would have been found guilty of breaching almost all international treaties, laws and conventions on the subject, alienating definitively in the process the Iranian government and people, possibly triggering an open war, certainly threatening a still fragile de-escalation of the tensions between Iran and the US…

        • draeger24

          wrong Niki, Though these are not considered “commissioned ships”, they are still US ships as sovereign entities. First, were they truly in Iranaian waters – it has not been established. This was a hostile takeover, and not an assist. You said: “US Navy would have been found guilty of breaching almost all international treaties, laws and conventions on the subject, alienating definitively in the process the Iranian government and people,” Please state what treaties and laws WOULD have been broken by resisting the boarding. As it stands, this was a hostile boarding akin to pirates. They should have trained their weapons on the Iranians as soon as hostile intent was shown. As for the Iranaian gov being “alienated” ROTFLMAO ……we have been made fools of. The day the “deal” was signed (more like funding them), they had a parade in the streets of Tehran yelling “Death to America”…..ALSO, this was captivity – what is called “Peacetime Governmental Detention”, the same thing that happened to the P-3 crew. The Vienna Accords are in keeping with this. This was, in effect, captivity.

          • Niki Ptt

            “First, were they truly in Iranaian waters – it has not been established.” Give me one serious source that says they weren’t in Iranian waters. That might be one of the only points on which everyone has the same version…
            I’m not gonna cite every goddamn treaty and law which might apply to this case. Just a few examples:
            UNCLOS Article 18 (the DoD confirmed the ships weren’t in distress at any moment, and thus shouldn’t have stopped in Iranian waters)
            UNCLOS Article 19 in it’s entirity (pointing weapons at the iranian ships is a breach in itself)
            UNCLOS Article 25 §1
            UNCLOS Article 30
            UNCLOS Article 33 (to adress the rumor stating they weren’t boarded in Iranian waters)
            … and a bunch of others. The legality of the boarding itself might be contested, but it’s the word of the Iranians against the word of the Americans.

            And as I already answered above, “captivity” only applied when the crew was effectively disarmed.

            As for the parade in Tehran, you could find the same examples in the US. Does that mean all Americans think that way?

          • draeger24

            …and you take the word of our sworn enemy, Iran? BRILLIANT! So were you also in favor of the 150billion that Obama gave to the Iranians? what about the 1.4 billion in cash in an unmarked jet for a few hostages? Captivity is captivity. The Iranians illegally detained them, and, this “Officer” gave up his command without a fight….this is the same stupidity we have seen in “praise for restraint” by CRU-DES skippers when Iranian fast boats are charging them in international waters. The only thing these idiots respect is strength, and this Officer showed weakness. The Iranians used this in their info ops campaign. As for UNCLOS, so what – it doesn’t marginalize the fact that they illegally detained the crew.

        • NavySubNuke

          I notice you skip right over the “in captivity” part —- his actions while held in captivity is the part that matters to this discussion.

          • Niki Ptt

            The were effectively “in captivity” after being boarded and disarmed, not before. So the Code of Conduct doesn’t apply before that point.

          • NavySubNuke

            Right and I was talking about what happened during the in captivity portion — that is when the code of conduct violations I am talking about occurred and that is why I think he should be removed from the service regardless of what happened prior to capture.

          • Niki Ptt

            What did he specifically do that “violated” the Code of Conduct? Not trying to escape? Oh great, kneeled on the deck, ankles crossed, your hands on you head, with an armed Iranian sailor a few yards away… Greeeeeaaaat idea.
            I suppose you know the Code of Conduct is not suicidal pact? ^^

          • NavySubNuke

            Wow you really are ignorant of what happened after they were captured. Pretty impressive for you to be commenting so strongly on an incident you clearly no so little about — I applaud you for boldly displaying your complete lack of knowledge on this.
            I can’t post links but just go ahead and google Naval officer iran apology video
            Then go ahead and read article V of the code of conduct again.

          • Niki Ptt

            No, I’m boldly playing with you. ^^
            More seriously, I’m following this incident since day one, I know at least as much as anyone else here on the subject. And maybe more, as I know the reason of the “mechanical failure”, having sailed on a CB90 a few times.
            Code of Conduct, Article V: “I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.”
            Extract of the officer’s apologies video: “It was a mistake. That was our fault. And we apologize for our mistake”; “It was a misunderstanding. We did not mean to go into Iranian territorial water. The Iranian behavior was fantastic while we were here. We thank you very much for your hospitality and your assistance.”
            Where is the breach here?

          • NavySubNuke

            Look Jane Fonda if you can’t see the breach there I can’t help you.

        • Duane

          “Combat begins” the moment an enemy points his gun at you and attempts to capture your command … which a Navy officer is required by naval regulations never to give up as long as he or she has the means to resist. Which this officer clearly had, and which this officer clearly refused to use.

          • Niki Ptt

            The Code of Conduct is not a regulation per se, and certainly not a “naval regulation”
            “attempt to capture your command”… I’m curious about how you differentiate an “attempt to capture your command” from “attempt to board for a perfectly legitimate inspection of an un-announced warship in your territorial waters”.

          • Duane

            A US naval vessel may allow or invite others to board, but cannot legally be coerced to do so. Any attempt to forcibly board a US naval vessel is an act of war.

            But of course, this was not a “boarding” – it was a hostile capture by gun-wielding hostiles.

            A naval officer is compelled to defend his or her command by the Code of Conduct.

          • Niki Ptt

            Under International Maritime Security Law, boarding of a foreign ship by an armed boarding officer in territorial waters is allowed. For the US, this pratice dates back to 1793-1799 and Thomas Jefferson.
            And you PRESUME the Iranians were hostiles. In the end, no harm was done to the crew, and they reported having been treated well during their detention
            And I hate to repeat myself, but the Code of Conduct is not a regulation! You cannot be tried in a court martial for “breaching” the Code of Conduct.
            Argh, why in the name of god do the Americans always think they are above international laws!?
            UNCLOS for example. “Yeah, we’re not gonna ratify it, but we’ll enforce it on other countries anyway”. The only reason the US allow passage of foreign warships in its waters is to be consistent with it’s policy of deliberately and without navigational purpose sailing through foreign territorial waters…

          • Duane

            The law you cite only applies to civilian or merchant vessels. Military vessels on the sea are equivalent to national embassies – they are sovereign “soil”.

            I didn’t presume the Iranians were hostile … they were hostile. That’s what you call it when you intercept a vessel, point guns, and threaten to kill the occupants unless they surrender.

            The United States is a sovereign nation, it recognizes no power over its own except that to which we voluntarily submit via ratified treaty. That’s what it means to be a sovereign nation. And the USA is fully entitled to abrogate any ratified treaty.

            Every other sovereign nation in the world is just the same.

          • Niki Ptt

            WRONG! UNCLOS applies to all flagged vessels, and especially to warships concerning the right to innocent passage!
            “That’s what you call it when you intercept a vessel, point guns, and threaten to kill the occupants unless they surrender.” Any proof on these last two points?
            And yet, you still think you’re the gendarm of the world, enforcing a treaty you never ratified and putting your naval power over the power of other states (China for example), which is a breach of their sovereignty… Oups.

    • Pat Patterson

      I would have opened fire on the Iranians and gone down fighting! The LT overthought things.

      • James Bowen

        I think that was the appropriate call for the situation the U.S.S. Pueblo was in, but not in this situation. This time our boats, due to navigational error, really were in their territorial waters.

        • draeger24

          no…it was never established where they were as the Iranians were jamming GPS….the LT gave up his ship, bottom line.

          • James Bowen

            Isn’t that what the Article 92 violation was for, that is, being under orders not to enter Iranian waters? I am pretty sure I read that somewhere. If that is the case, this officer made the right, or rather the less wrong decision. Sometimes doing our duty to the best of our ability means swallowing our pride. We make mistakes from time to time, and it is better to admit to such a mistake than start a war with a refusal to do so.

            As for the Iranians jamming GPS, if that happened that exposes far larger problems which were predictable ever since we became dependent upon GPS.

          • Niki Ptt

            Of course… The Iranians were jamming the GPS… It’s absolutely not the fault of the incompetent crew of the boats. Ever heard of dead reckoning (they were in sight of the island)? Or the onboard inertial navigation system, which is GPS independent?

            You know there was a USCG ship nearby, which has an inertial navigation system onboard and had the ships on radar?

            So it IS established that they were in Iranian waters, in addition to the fact that the crews recognised they knew they were in Iranian waters.

          • CHENG1087

            “Onboard inertial navigation system”? Really? I believe you might have just blown your cover.

          • Niki Ptt

            Yeah, onboard inertial navigation system.
            Would you care to elaborate on the subject of me breaching my “cover”?

          • draeger24

            again, are the waters around the island considered “Iranian”? Even if not, he gave up his command, PERIOD.

          • Niki Ptt

            “again, are the waters around the island considered “Iranian”?”
            … But of course they are! It’s not the SCS! The 12nm territorial waters of Iran are uncontested!
            I mean, this one is navigation school 1 0 1. How can you doubt about the fact that the patch of water up to 12nm from the island is not iranian?

    • The Plague

      For starters, not get “lost” in one of the most remarkable navigation blunders since ancient times. So remarkable, in fact, that it had to be intentional.

    • draeger24

      As soon as the Iranian boat pointed it’s weapons at mine, I would have opened fire….all of these Officers being given praise on CRU-DES assets (outside of this incident) for “having restraint” have only emboldened the Iranians….

    • James Bowen

      That is a good point. The biggest mistake that this officer made was a navigational error. While the Iranians behaved like jackasses here, we are not at war with them, it was in their territorial waters, and our boats opening fire would have been a blatant act of war. Now had this been in international waters, it would be a different story.

    • publius_maximus_III

      Full disclosure: I’m a civilian landlubber.

      I am not in that blamer grioup you are asking the question, but I will hazard a reply anyway. I thought one of the craft had engine trouble and that was the reason for drifting into Iranian territorial waters. If that was the case, the disabled craft would have been a sitting duck if it had chosen to resist. I think the CO made the rigfht call, with nothing to gain and the lives of his crew to lose. I think the 3-officer review board did, too.

      “Give me a fast ship, for I intend to go in Harm’s Way.” — JPJ

      • James Bowen

        I agree with you. The Iranians could have behaved better instead of making a big show about this, but given that they were in Iranian territorial waters any resistance on the part of our boats would have legally been an act of war.

        • Duane

          It is NOT an act of war to resist the capture of your command.

          What the Iranians did was an act of war by capturing the vessel from an officer unwilling to defend his command.

          • James Bowen

            It is if we are in their territorial waters without their permission. Had this been in international waters, like the U.S.S. Pueblo was, than it would have been different and opening fire would have been the right call.

          • Duane

            You are apparently unaware of the internationally-recognized right of innocent passage. Every other nation recognizes that right except Iran, or the NORKs.

          • James Bowen

            There is no question that the Iranians behaved like jackasses here. However, that doesn’t change the fact that opening fire on them in their territorial waters would have been an act of war on our part.

          • Duane

            No – opening fire in defense of one’s command is no more or less than that. Acts of war happen every day all over the world, whether wars are “declared” or not. It is irrelevant, does not matter in the slightest whether you want to play word games or not.

          • James Bowen

            The Navy is an arm of the U.S. Government, which had no intention of attacking Iran that day. On top of that, he judged correctly that his command was in no danger so long as they did not fight. He made the right, or at least the less wrong, decision. If you were talking about the U.S.S. Pueblo, which was attacked in international waters, I would agree with everything you say. However, that is not what happened here.

        • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

          When is war legal? Where and to whom?

          Abstract I know…. but that is not for an officer to consider.

          • James Bowen

            As I recall, our boats were within their territorial waters without permission. Had we fired on them, that would have been an act of war on our part.

      • Duane

        Naval regulations forbid handing your command over to another force as long as you still have the means to resist. He had guns, he should have indicated he was ready to use them to defend his command.

        He also should never have allowed his command to stray off course.

    • tteng

      Given that hind sight is always 20-20 (or lack of protocol for the LT to follow in such situation), I would of scuttle the boats to prevent boarding.

      Was there, or has the navy established protocol since the incident, on ‘what to do’ under the same situation?

      • Niki Ptt

        The French did that in Toulon in 1942. Now the Americans are calling the French cowards for that, even if at the time all American and English journals praised this action and the courage and determination of the Franch sailors.
        As you say, hindsight is always 20-20… 😉

        • tteng

          Well, I guess the Navy needs to come up with a protocol, and not leave next incident to ‘chance and individual judgement’.

          Have they?

  • Charles Pierce

    His career is dead, he might as well leave under his own accord.

  • RobM1981

    There are some very good posts here that remind everyone how there is a Code of Conduct, how the LT was trained in it (or had better have been), and should have followed it.

    Spot on.

    Yes, you can argue that in the Obama years he could well have been abandoned, or condemned, or other such things, but that has never been in the purview of LT’s. An LT does what he is ordered to do, within the broad confines of the code of conduct.

    What we see here is what we see in society in general. In this hyper-connected world where “exceptions to the rule” are easily found and loudly broadcast (since they are click-bait), the rules become not only ignored – they become the enemy.

    We are a Nation of Feelings, or are rapidly heading in that direction.

    • Smokey

      The lieutenant was a vajayjay.

  • Bo

    The rose may have been pinned far too low in the totem pole here. The fact that Big Navy decided sometime in the last decade not to teach basic paper chart and compass readings (instead relying far too much on GPS and other vulnerable electronic devices). It makes me wonder if this did not play into this incident?

    • draeger24

      doesn’t matter. This was a hostile act. As soon as hostile intent was shown, the LT had a duty to protect his “ships”….

  • Duane

    There were other officers at fault for this incident, and they have already been disciplined, going well up the chain of command.

    This officer disgraced himself, his command, the US Navy, and the United States of America by his failure to obey the code of conduct. He also incompetently strayed off course in an area where he knew that hostile forces were operating, which itself is a disgrace.

    That one vessel’s engines broke down is not this officer’s fault, nor that the entire mission was poorly planned and incompetently commanded, all the fault of others higher up, and they’ve been punished.

    All naval officers must subscribe to Oliver Hazard Perry’s motto, emblazened on his flag:

    “Don’t give up the ship!”

  • John B. Morgen

    This officer is not fit to be in the United States Navy because he failed in protecting the national honor. What has happen with the Board’s final judgement sent a very wrong message throughout the Fleet that the national honor doesn’t really matters. The Code of Conduct no longer is relatant for one’s actions.

    • Niki Ptt

      “The Code of Conduct no longer is relatant for one’s actions”
      It has never been. It’s not a regulation and thus you cannot be charged for “breaching” it.

      • John B. Morgen

        The Code of Conduct are guides for personal conduct while being in the Navy, however, the Code Of Conduct could be [use] as a measurement during naval court proceedings against someone for breaking naval regulations.

    • James Bowen

      The Navy does not exist to “protect national honor”. It exists to defend the citizens of the U.S. and their vital interests. Starting a war with Iran would in no way serve those interests. Sometimes it is necessary to swallow our pride in order accomplish our mission, especially after making a mistake like entering foreign waters without authorization.

      • John B. Morgen

        What silly nonsense, without protecting honor or having no pride; then there’s no sense of having a Navy to defend the Homeland. There’s no reason to dress up and march around, or give the Navy a name; or even to exist as a fighting force organization. Think again—James Bowen!

        • James Bowen

          Actually there is a reason, and it happens to be the Navy’s raison d’etre: protecting and defending the lives and livelihoods of the citizens of the U.S. The Navy does not exist to act macho or look pretty, it exists to serve a very pragmatic purpose. Pride helps accomplish that mission, but on the occasion that it comes into conflict with that mission, as happened here, the mission takes priority. It would not have been in our interest to start a war with Iran, their insulting behavior notwithstanding.

  • James B.

    The Navy doesn’t have great tools to separate specific servicemembers before their enlistment runs out or HYT/FOS kicks in. Drugs, PFA failures, or a court-martial are the big exceptions, but merely dismal performance generally is only a career-killer, not an immediate discharge.

    The lawyer, Rob “Butch” Bracknell, explained it pretty well: despite having zero chance of promotion, this LT will continue to collect pay for fogging a mirror until he fails to promote and receives separation pay. I can only hope the Navy has some truly bleak O-3 billets that need filling for the next few years.

  • Murray

    Here’s an historical context. On 8 December 1941 the gunboats USS Wake (ex Guam) and HMS Peterel were boarded by the Japanese Navy at Shanghai and surrender demands were made. The CO of Wake was ashore and the crew surrendered. The CO of Peterel told the Japanese to “Get off my bloody ship” and prepared to fight the Japanese coast defence ship Idzumo, a destroyer and a gunboat with machine guns. In the following battle the Peterel was quickly sunk and six of the eighteen crew were killed. The surviving crew and the crew of Wake all became Japanese prisoners of war. Question – What was the correct decision here?

    • Mac

      Peteral’s decision.

    • James Bowen

      In this situation I would say the Peterel made the right decision, as we were at war with Japan. However, in regard to the current situation, we are not at war with Iran and there was no need to start one.

  • AmPatriotSmith

    This is what happens when you had a Commander in Chief like Obama. Obama turned the military into a politically correct organization. What if there was no pending “nuke deal” with Iran? The Iranians for sure could have paraded them around as captives and demanded ransom. His job was to defend his boat and protect his men despite what anyone thinks, including the president.

  • Kim Chul Soo

    This is total BS. Bad precedent for the future of the Navy.

  • OSCM(SW)(RET)

    And will always be known as the most recent skipper to surrender his, in this case, craft without a shot taking over that dubious distinction from the CO of the USS Pueblo (AGER-2).