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View Full Version : Honor, NJP and a crap situation ...



Stalwart
10-04-2014, 12:46 PM
So I personally observed and participated in an unfortunate thing yesterday, the NJP of a senior enlisted.

The subject of the NJP (Navy Captain’s Mast) was a Chief Petty Officer (E-7), he was recently frocked to E-7, which means he was wearing the rank but not promoted (getting paid) and was officially still an E-6. He was accused of false official statements, forgery, disrespect to a commissioned officer; disobeying a lawful order and of course … the general article (wearing false insignia.) It all stemmed from him wearing a V on a Navy Commendation Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon (CAR) and USN/USMC Jump wings on his uniform; he was found guilty on all counts and fined half a month’s pay for 2 months and reduced from E-6 to E-5 which now is probably going to force him out due to a high year tenure issue. I got involved because in talking to him during the Chief’s induction season my suspicions were raised about the validity of his wearing jump wings – he knew nothing of parachute operations … odd … and I mentioned it to the CMC. As the layers of the situation were peeled back, things only got worse.

At face value, it seems like a pretty hefty price for a swatch of fabric and a small piece of metal. I have 3 personal awards with V's & have earned both the CAR (4 times) and the USN/USMC Jump Wings and on an emotional level, they are important because of what they represent. I have discussed this issue on another board about fake SeALs, Rangers, Recon Marines etc. And while the actual insignia is just a piece of metal or cloth, the pain and effort that goes into them is more than most who have not lived that life, lost that sweat or in some cases bled that blood understand. It isn’t like fakers/posers are committing murder but what they do lacks honor … something that the military is (or at least should be) very serious about.

On one hand, I wonder if this is something that warrants the reduction of the Sailor (removing the frocking authority to E-7 and then actual reduction to E-5) and the very probable end of a career after 15 years.

I ask myself: can I really place total & unquestioned faith in a Chief, who was willing to compromise his integrity over something as little as a couple of pieces of flair (that he did not need to add to a good career to make himself a good Sailor) … but what else is he willing & comfortable to be disingenuous about?

Could I count on this Chief to uphold the values of his rank & position, of the Navy and his oath … to train junior officers, to advise more senior officers and to lead juniors by positive example if he is willing to boost himself up with false & embellished stories of his experience?

Overall, the situation sucked (technical term.) It left a bad feeling. While I think the right thing was done: standards upheld and the truth coming out – eventually – I could feel disappointment in the room and see it on the face of the former Chief. I could sense frustration and see it in the shaking heads of the assembled Chiefs who were there and I wonder if as this story is told in the future is it told as a story of a guy who let his desire to be a bit more than he was get the best of him, or the story of a commander who punished a senior guy too much for something that was not that big of a deal.

efmbman
10-04-2014, 01:30 PM
Could I count on this Chief to uphold the values of his rank & position, of the Navy and his oath … to train junior officers, to advise more senior officers and to lead juniors by positive example if he is willing to boost himself up with false & embellished stories of his experience?

I think you know the answer to that one already, Sir. A resounding "NO". If this was a Sailor with fewer years in service it may be different - but this one knew better. He also knew what was at stake: the frock and the permanent rank.

EDIT: It is a big deal. The military is a culture in which the resume is worn in the form of awards, decorations and qualification badges. When a person walks in the room, one can instantly make an assessment of that person. In addition, in a less formal environment, one can easily determine the scope of that person's service. If you see the insignia of a medical officer you may not want to discuss infantry tactics.

garhkal
10-04-2014, 02:55 PM
I think it was more the littany of offenses he had rather than just any single one causing his loss of rank.

Stalwart
10-04-2014, 03:10 PM
I think it was more the littany of offenses he had rather than just any single one causing his loss of rank.

I agree, pretty much everything was a slight variation of the same thing -- wearing unauthorized awards -- with the exception of the disrespect charge which stemmed from calling someone an asshole while pressing him on the issue.

I saddens me, not for my involvement & testimony or (too much) for the individual ... but that this was done, by someone who did it not for any tangible gain (no promotion points were earned since this was not part of his official record etc.) but it was simply a matter of trying to bolster his credibility when he already had a pretty good resume ... it just wasn't needed.

Absinthe Anecdote
10-04-2014, 04:35 PM
I've met far too many people that glamorize their service, mostly in the smoke pit or at the bar over a couple of beers. They are easy to spot and easy to brush off.

However, when I meet someone who is wearing medals or devices that they haven't earned, well, I'm afraid I can't let that one go.

The Air Force used to discourage that behavior by having open ranks inspections, and requiring that each member carry a printout of all their awards and decs to the inspection. It was a once in awhile thing, and it wasn't primarily to root out phony awards, but to make sure people were wearing their uniforms correctly.

I haven't seen that since the 1990s. Perhaps the best way to discourage troops from wearing awards they didn't earn is to explain how easy it is to be spotted as a phony.

I think a 30 minute block in the various PME courses would do the trick.

garhkal
10-04-2014, 08:32 PM
In my 20 years in the Navy, i can't remember a single incident where someone got done for this. Is it that common in the AF that they need to do these sorts of inspections to prevent it?

INGUARD
10-05-2014, 05:35 AM
This is far from the first time from senior NONCOMMs, Warrants and RLOs.

Do you remember reading this?

http://www.stripes.com/news/command-sergeant-major-charged-with-claiming-false-honors-1.112358

and the final result

http://www.armytimes.com/article/20110309/NEWS/103090328/Ex-Walter-Reed-CSM-sentenced-6-months

For the US Army, adding anything to your records are scrutinized by the S1 and branch. It is not easy to update your files like it use to be and it is all because of people like these.

LogDog
10-05-2014, 06:15 PM
I've met far too many people that glamorize their service, mostly in the smoke pit or at the bar over a couple of beers. They are easy to spot and easy to brush off.

However, when I meet someone who is wearing medals or devices that they haven't earned, well, I'm afraid I can't let that one go.

The Air Force used to discourage that behavior by having open ranks inspections, and requiring that each member carry a printout of all their awards and decs to the inspection. It was a once in awhile thing, and it wasn't primarily to root out phony awards, but to make sure people were wearing their uniforms correctly.

I haven't seen that since the 1990s. Perhaps the best way to discourage troops from wearing awards they didn't earn is to explain how easy it is to be spotted as a phony.

I think a 30 minute block in the various PME courses would do the trick.
I never saw any open ranks inspection where the individual had their awards/decs printouts. Most people, including those doing the inspections, couldn't recognize more than a couple of ribbons and couldn't tell whether the ribbons were in their correct order on the rack.

Absinthe Anecdote
10-05-2014, 06:29 PM
I never saw any open ranks inspection where the individual had their awards/decs printouts. Most people, including those doing the inspections, couldn't recognize more than a couple of ribbons and couldn't tell whether the ribbons were in their correct order on the rack.

It sure as heck wasn't that way in the cop career field, but even after I went Intel, I know we had at least one of those inspections at Fort Meade.

It was in response to an incident in which airmen assigned to a civilian shop had not worn their uniforms to work in over a year, so of course, the entire unit had to get tuned up.

Still, that was once common for a open ranks inspection in service dress uniform, had to have a print out of your awards and decs with you.

What were you, supply? You guys looked worse than a maintenance troop's duffel bag from what I remember.

LogDog
10-05-2014, 07:29 PM
It sure as heck wasn't that way in the cop career field, but even after I went Intel, I know we had at least one of those inspections at Fort Meade.

It was in response to an incident in which airmen assigned to a civilian shop had not worn their uniforms to work in over a year, so of course, the entire unit had to get tuned up.

Still, that was once common for a open ranks inspection in service dress uniform, had to have a print out of your awards and decs with you.

What were you, supply? You guys looked worse than a maintenance troop's duffel bag from what I remember.
As I said, I've been through open ranks inspections but never with the printout. If there was anywhere I'd suspect an open ranks inspection with the printout it would be in one of the PME schools and the ones I attended didn't do that.

I was in Medical Materiel (counterparts of Base Supply) and assigned to the Medical Group my entire career and many of the medics wore permanent pressed "Whites" as their uniforms. Also, during that time, most of them got their "Whites" cleaned/pressed and paid for through the Medical Group. They didn't have much to put on their uniforms other than rank and name tags so it was hard for them to look rag bag. About 90% of the time, fatigues/BDUs were the uniform of the day for us.

Stalwart
10-05-2014, 07:36 PM
I stood an IG inspection once (in the USMC) and we had to have our Service Record with us to verify that we were wearing everything, with the right attachments etc.

BT BT

One of the things that (at least in the Navy) that makes the wearing of unauthorized awards 'easier' to get away with is that the Navy does a really bad job of tracking earned awards. It took me a couple of years to get everything on my DD214 from the USMC into my USN record properly. And 'officially' the Navy isn't tracking any awards subordinate to the Combat Action Ribbon except for Good Conduct Medals. So a ship deploys to an AOR and the ship gets (for example) the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or a unit award ... it doesn't get tracked by "big Navy" for the individual, and it is up to the ship to generate a paper-copy letter (pg 13) for individual Sailors. Sometimes ship's Admin folks are on the ball ... sometimes ... meh.

garhkal
10-05-2014, 10:33 PM
Good point. I didn't find out one of my former commands got a Navy E till almost 6 years later when one of my Senior chief's linked me to a site to check out what commands got what awards.

BENDER56
10-06-2014, 11:51 AM
As I said, I've been through open ranks inspections but never with the printout. If there was anywhere I'd suspect an open ranks inspection with the printout it would be in one of the PME schools and the ones I attended didn't do that.

I was in Medical Materiel (counterparts of Base Supply) and assigned to the Medical Group my entire career and many of the medics wore permanent pressed "Whites" as their uniforms. Also, during that time, most of them got their "Whites" cleaned/pressed and paid for through the Medical Group. They didn't have much to put on their uniforms other than rank and name tags so it was hard for them to look rag bag. About 90% of the time, fatigues/BDUs were the uniform of the day for us.

I was a 1st Sgt for a Med Group and we were doing a retirement ceremony for one of our 4N0s and he shows up in the old McConnell service dress uniform. This was around the '03/'04 time-frame, mind you. I told him he couldn't wear it but the CC let it go. Thankfully nobody from outside the unit attended. Anyway, the reason he wore it was because he never bothered to get the current one. For those of you who don't know, the uniform he wore was phased out about eight years prior and he managed to serve that long without the proper one.

socal1200r
10-06-2014, 12:28 PM
I was a 1st Sgt for a Med Group and we were doing a retirement ceremony for one of our 4N0s and he shows up in the old McConnell service dress uniform. This was around the '03/'04 time-frame, mind you. I told him he couldn't wear it but the CC let it go. Thankfully nobody from outside the unit attended. Anyway, the reason he wore it was because he never bothered to get the current one. For those of you who don't know, the uniform he wore was phased out about eight years prior and he managed to serve that long without the proper one.

I can top that one...I'm going to retire from the USAF Reserves as an O5 after 28 years on 31 Dec, and I've never had a mess dress uniform...always avoided any situations where I'd have to wear one, and I'm not one for dog and pony shows...so sick and tired of today's military, told my admin shop I do not want a retirement ceremony, no flag, and they can mail me any awards or decs I might get...I'm done...

SomeRandomGuy
10-06-2014, 02:10 PM
On one hand, I wonder if this is something that warrants the reduction of the Sailor (removing the frocking authority to E-7 and then actual reduction to E-5) and the very probable end of a career after 15 years.

I ask myself: can I really place total & unquestioned faith in a Chief, who was willing to compromise his integrity over something as little as a couple of pieces of flair (that he did not need to add to a good career to make himself a good Sailor) … but what else is he willing & comfortable to be disingenuous about?


Devil's advocate here but what about all the other situations we routinely see where people blatantly ignore regulations? In about 6 years of working travel pay I learned that you shouldn't be surprised by what people are willing to lie about even for a small amount of money. You wouldn't believe how many people claim 2 taxis on every voucher for $74.99 knowing that you don't need a reciept for $75 and under. When called out on it these people get defensive like it is their right to rip the government off for close to $150 on every trip. I have even referred some of these types to OSI who isn't interested in investigating it because it's so hard to prove.

What about people who blatantly cheat the leave system? Both as supervisors and for their own gain. Heck, all you need to do is look at a previous thread on this forum and you will find people talking about "desk leaves".

What about high ranking officers who schedule theirselves for a flight into a combat zone that lands on the 30th and departs again the next day on the 1st? Sure, that isn't illegal but it is specifically playing the system. Are these officers not risking the lives of aircrew simply to avoid paying taxes?

What about all the inspections we have (this may be Air Force specific) where people back date appointment letters or manipulate paperwork and pretend they were always doing things by the book?

I could cite several more examples but I think you get the point. Realistically, people are going to look out for number 1 above anything else. It seems like this subject is personal to you because you feel the offender is stealing something from you. He is diminishing your achievement by claiming to have done the same thing. I agree he deserved a punishment but I think you went a little too far with the hyperbole. Yes, he probably can't be trusted, but then again neither can a lot of people. All you have to do is look around to find others who are willing to sacrifice their integrity for very little gain whether monetary or other.

The Chief in this situation isn't any different than the vast majority of people. He was willing to push the limits because he didn't figure anyone would care. It probably never ocurred to him what he was doing because honestly most of us don't think about our actions. When you are constantly cheating paperwork for inspections, filing false, travel claims, and cheating the leave system how much more of a stretch is it to give yourself an extra award?

BURAWSKI
10-06-2014, 03:14 PM
Devil's advocate here but what about all the other situations we routinely see where people blatantly ignore regulations? In about 6 years of working travel pay I learned that you shouldn't be surprised by what people are willing to lie about even for a small amount of money. You wouldn't believe how many people claim 2 taxis on every voucher for $74.99 knowing that you don't need a reciept for $75 and under. When called out on it these people get defensive like it is their right to rip the government off for close to $150 on every trip. I have even referred some of these types to OSI who isn't interested in investigating it because it's so hard to prove.

What about people who blatantly cheat the leave system? Both as supervisors and for their own gain. Heck, all you need to do is look at a previous thread on this forum and you will find people talking about "desk leaves".

What about high ranking officers who schedule theirselves for a flight into a combat zone that lands on the 30th and departs again the next day on the 1st? Sure, that isn't illegal but it is specifically playing the system. Are these officers not risking the lives of aircrew simply to avoid paying taxes?

What about all the inspections we have (this may be Air Force specific) where people back date appointment letters or manipulate paperwork and pretend they were always doing things by the book?

I could cite several more examples but I think you get the point. Realistically, people are going to look out for number 1 above anything else. It seems like this subject is personal to you because you feel the offender is stealing something from you. He is diminishing your achievement by claiming to have done the same thing. I agree he deserved a punishment but I think you went a little too far with the hyperbole. Yes, he probably can't be trusted, but then again neither can a lot of people. All you have to do is look around to find others who are willing to sacrifice their integrity for very little gain whether monetary or other.

The Chief in this situation isn't any different than the vast majority of people. He was willing to push the limits because he didn't figure anyone would care. It probably never ocurred to him what he was doing because honestly most of us don't think about our actions. When you are constantly cheating paperwork for inspections, filing false, travel claims, and cheating the leave system how much more of a stretch is it to give yourself an extra award?

Excellent points and I agree with you. Leave and travel are probably about the best examples where you see a lot of "gaming" the system, but another word for it is fraud, except people who perpetrate it will not allow themselves to admit it.

efmbman
10-06-2014, 03:57 PM
Devil's advocate here but what about all the other situations we routinely see where people blatantly ignore regulations? In about 6 years of working travel pay I learned that you shouldn't be surprised by what people are willing to lie about even for a small amount of money. You wouldn't believe how many people claim 2 taxis on every voucher for $74.99 knowing that you don't need a reciept for $75 and under. When called out on it these people get defensive like it is their right to rip the government off for close to $150 on every trip. I have even referred some of these types to OSI who isn't interested in investigating it because it's so hard to prove.

What about people who blatantly cheat the leave system? Both as supervisors and for their own gain. Heck, all you need to do is look at a previous thread on this forum and you will find people talking about "desk leaves".

What about high ranking officers who schedule theirselves for a flight into a combat zone that lands on the 30th and departs again the next day on the 1st? Sure, that isn't illegal but it is specifically playing the system. Are these officers not risking the lives of aircrew simply to avoid paying taxes?

What about all the inspections we have (this may be Air Force specific) where people back date appointment letters or manipulate paperwork and pretend they were always doing things by the book?

I could cite several more examples but I think you get the point. Realistically, people are going to look out for number 1 above anything else. It seems like this subject is personal to you because you feel the offender is stealing something from you. He is diminishing your achievement by claiming to have done the same thing. I agree he deserved a punishment but I think you went a little too far with the hyperbole. Yes, he probably can't be trusted, but then again neither can a lot of people. All you have to do is look around to find others who are willing to sacrifice their integrity for very little gain whether monetary or other.

The Chief in this situation isn't any different than the vast majority of people. He was willing to push the limits because he didn't figure anyone would care. It probably never ocurred to him what he was doing because honestly most of us don't think about our actions. When you are constantly cheating paperwork for inspections, filing false, travel claims, and cheating the leave system how much more of a stretch is it to give yourself an extra award?

I would probably be more inclined to agree with you if the awards regulations were written in the same way... for example: "You are allowed to purchase three (3) decorations for wear on your service uniform for which you do not possess award orders. The decorations must be of a precedence below the Bronze Star."

Since the travel voucher system allows for anything below $75 to be claimed without receipt, we are closer to the same thing. As far as I know, all services require awards and decorations to be sourced by orders; service and campaign medals are verified through longevity and deployment orders.

SomeRandomGuy
10-06-2014, 04:02 PM
Excellent points and I agree with you. Leave and travel are probably about the best examples where you see a lot of "gaming" the system, but another word for it is fraud, except people who perpetrate it will not allow themselves to admit it.

Actually, the more I think about I missed the biggest example that we see everyday that more closely relates here. The Air Force Enlisted Evaluation System is one giant fraud. There isn't one single person here who hasn't signed off on an EPR that included bullets that aren't true. I'm not sure if it is still happenening but at my last base we pretty much just recycled the same bullets for everyone. You just take a couple of the things the person actually did and then fill the rest with your pre-worded bullets that everyone used.

It is already commonplace for people to manipulate a performance appraisal that does affect promotion. How much of a leap is it for someone in that enviroment to also claim false awards? I say it isn't that different.

Stalwart
10-06-2014, 04:22 PM
SomeRandomGuy

Thanks for the input. Yes, you are right that on one level it is personal to me ... not because he was stealing something from me but because this was a lack of integrity by a senior enlisted ... someone I should be able to trust, someone who 11+ years ago would have been my peer; I expect more of a CPO than this. But it wasn't personal when I was at the proceeding or mentioned my Spidey-Sense going off to the CMC. I meant no hyperbole when asking if someone thinks I am off in my thought that I really don't think I could trust this guy to do bigger, more important things honestly when he was willing to have no integrity over something so trivial ... again, faking the awards gained him nothing tangible.

I won't argue that there are plenty of people out there who 'cheat' the system (various systems) every day, that doesn't mean I condone or endorse it; nor do I think that "other people are dishonest" is a good defense when caught being dishonest.

Stalwart
10-06-2014, 04:25 PM
As far as I know, all services require awards and decorations to be sourced by orders; service and campaign medals are verified through longevity and deployment orders.

Not 'orders' in the way the Army does it; in the USMC and USN there are source documents etc.
BURAWSKI can probably speak to it better than I.

CYBERFX1024
10-06-2014, 05:19 PM
Good point. I didn't find out one of my former commands got a Navy E till almost 6 years later when one of my Senior chief's linked me to a site to check out what commands got what awards.

Do you happen to know that site?

Stalwart
10-06-2014, 05:23 PM
Do you happen to know that site?

https://awards.navy.mil/

garhkal
10-06-2014, 05:53 PM
Devil's advocate here but what about all the other situations we routinely see where people blatantly ignore regulations? In about 6 years of working travel pay I learned that you shouldn't be surprised by what people are willing to lie about even for a small amount of money. You wouldn't believe how many people claim 2 taxis on every voucher for $74.99 knowing that you don't need a reciept for $75 and under. When called out on it these people get defensive like it is their right to rip the government off for close to $150 on every trip. I have even referred some of these types to OSI who isn't interested in investigating it because it's so hard to prove.

What about people who blatantly cheat the leave system? Both as supervisors and for their own gain. Heck, all you need to do is look at a previous thread on this forum and you will find people talking about "desk leaves".

What about high ranking officers who schedule theirselves for a flight into a combat zone that lands on the 30th and departs again the next day on the 1st? Sure, that isn't illegal but it is specifically playing the system. Are these officers not risking the lives of aircrew simply to avoid paying taxes?

What about all the inspections we have (this may be Air Force specific) where people back date appointment letters or manipulate paperwork and pretend they were always doing things by the book?


All of those i have seen and/or experienced at one time or another. I really hated the officer flying in on the 30th and leaving on the 2nd one, just so they get 2 months of imminent danger/tax free pay, for something that could have been done with a video conference.



Do you happen to know that site?https://awards.navy.mil/

Thanks for the covering Stalwart. But no i wouldn't have remembered that site, its been 8+ years since i looked at it.

Stalwart
10-06-2014, 06:01 PM
All of those i have seen and/or experienced at one time or another. I really hated the officer flying in on the 30th and leaving on the 2nd one, just so they get 2 months of imminent danger/tax free pay, for something that could have been done with a video conference.

CENTCOM actually cracked down on that a couple of years ago, basically not allowing people (most people) to come in on the last day of the month and leave on the first, had to be there a min of 7 or 10 days if you rotated through on the last day of the month; but they were okay with letting individual movers who had been in theater for 90+ days leave on the 1st. It still happens --some times out of legit necessity; but not as frequently as it used to.