Monday, December 22, 2008

Fun with fitreps

Today's WaPo included this excerpt from John Warner's 1951 fitrep: "Lieutenant Warner is interested in exerting just enough effort to get by." That didn't exactly turn out to be a career killer.

13 comments:

Cloudesley Shovell said...

Well, it beats (barely) "Works well under constant supervision" or the crowd favorite "Has the wisdom of youth and the energy of old age."

Anonymous said...

Same fitrep he received as a Senator. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Typical anonymous snipe. The military is not the final arbiter of character nor does it provide the final measure of a man. And fitreps? Yeah, those are real scientific instruments! Warner was a good senator and Virginians loved him. Warner got "outranked" on his fitrep by a bunch of shiny-shoed mediocraties with clip-boards in one hand and coffee in the other. None of them combined contributed to their country what Warner did.

Anonymous said...

It's rather amazing in the navy JAG corps how disconnected fitreps are from reality sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, mine have been great. . . er . . . I mean I've performed okay and my fitreps, oh just forget it.

Dew_Process said...

Don't forget Ensign Chester Nimitz's General Court-Martial Conviction -- he seemed to do OK after that....

Norbert Basil MacLean III said...

Dew Process: Unfortunately in today's Navy Ensign Nimitz running a ship aground and being convicted by court-martial would most certainly result in dismissal - a true career ender. I wonder how many officers and sailors like Fleet Admiral Nimitz' the modern day Navy has lost with all this PC (not to mention the gay CTI's the Navy has tossed out)? Do anything wrong and you are out period. I think there is something to be said about conquering adversity and Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz is an excellent example.

Dew_Process said...

NBMac III, I hear ya - and it's not just the Navy. One mistake an "you're out" is pretty much the norm for officers in any Service these days.

There are the odd Commanders who do understand that "military discipline" is not just pure punishment, that in appropriate cases discipline accompanied by the opportunity to demonstrate rehabilitation is equally as important.

About 10 years ago, the AF Chief of Staff put out a memo to all Senior Commanders entitled, "Beware of 'Hang 'em High' Lawyers." The memo was to the effect that not every discrete act of fraternization required GCM dispositions.

The panel that sentenced Nimitz obviously felt that their "judgment" was why they were selected as members, and thus, had no career concerns for their sentence. Too bad we don't have that kind of fortitude these days.

Anonymous said...

Are you serious? First, not every grounding results in a dismissal; I would say the very small minority of them do. Certainly you may be relieved from that job (as in the case of the Skipper or Gator) and you career would probably top-out, but you wouldn’t be sent to a court unless it was an egregious failure and/or there was extreme property damage or loss of life. And in those cases it may only go to a BOI. For the OOD and other junior officer bridge team members, you may be looking at a NJP at worst.

Next I don’t understand the comment about how many folks the Navy has lost to all this “PC.” What does PC have to do with holding someone accountable for their criminal conduct?

Last, I really don’t care for your attempt to compare yourself (gay CTI) to Admiral Nimitz. I’m sure the Navy has not been severely damaged by your absence.

As for court-martial members (and even MJs) exercising their own judgment w/o regard to what others may have wanted, I think the comments that this is not being done today is a slap in the face to all who have served on a panel. Clearly recent events have demonstrated that: Martinez acquittal; MJ’s Art. 120 rulings; and the light sentence in one of the recent Commission cases, just to name a few. I personally have been involved in numerous member’s cases from both sides of the aisle where the punishment meted-out was less than NJP. Of course I presume that you all only believe a panel exercises its own conscience when the punishment is light or the member is acquitted. And that, like many posts on this site, expose your bias and ultimately undermine the value of your opinions.

Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte said...

When was the last court-martial for a grounding? Scott Waddle didn't even go to a court-martial. Be very careful comparing a court-martial from 1907 to one today. They are vastly different creatures and used for quite different purposes.

Anonymous said...

Warren married ET to get elected. He was at best a below average senator. Kept his job giving pay raises to the military. And he was wrong to the end - over the war in Iraq to military commissions, etc. And despite great public outcry against the bailout, he voted for it, pork and all. Do elected representatives care at all what their constituents want any more? Glad he's gone. The twins, Lindsay Graham and John McCain, need to be gone next.

Anonymous said...

For those of us who have been around - both chronologically and experience wise - up until the early 1980's, it was not uncommon to have either clients or Members who had c-m convictions, especially those who had done multiple tours in Vietnam.

I had an AF 0-3 as President of a Special C-M, who had a GCM conviction as an E-2, and still got commissioned with regular promotions and the conviction was in his records. I had an E-7 client, e.g., with 2 Summ C-M's, 2 Sp C-M's, and was then facing a GCM - he was a Special Forces guy who had a "talent" that they needed, but would periodically go on "benders" while on R&R.

It was not unusual to have an Officer panel of 6 or 7, with 2 of them having NJP's in their record, because they didn't gin up an Admin Sep Board just because of an NJP.

Then came TQM and PC - where "management" became more important than leadership. Thus, the "one screw up and you're out" approach was institutionalized.

As for retired Commander Waddle, he went to Mast - having caused 9 civilian deaths. We draw our own conclusions of course, and as SJA's we only make "recommendations." Waddle was a lucky man.

http://thinktech.honadvblogs.com/2008/05/19/the-sad-tale-of-the-ehime-maru-seven-years-after-the-mast/

Anonymous said...

Do we as taxpayers really want to pay for the salaries of officers who apparently cannot comply with the law? Back in the day when the services needed bodies I understand the policy of allowing for one or more failures. However, times have changed and you cannot attribute the current way as a result of TQM or PC. By the way, look at the Navy Safety Center statistics for Aircraft carrier mishaps in the days when drug use did not result in automatic separation and we were more forgiving. I think you will find a direct negative correlation between the mishaps and the retention rate for defects.

I'll give you the fact that some of those who have tasted discipline up close and personnal may be the last to repeat their offenses (heck, I've made that argument multiple times), but the fact remains that sailors who have screwed-up are more likely to re-offend. Why, well they already turned their career clocks back to zero, often being reduced at NJP or their court proceeding, be it a SCM or SPCM.