THE BLOG

The View From Here: A Retired Naval Officer Assesses the USS Enterprise Debacle

01/05/2011 10:25 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

As a retired Navy Captain, I've had the privilege of commanding four warships, in peacetime as well as in combat. For the record, the ridiculous videos that were shot onboard the USS Enterprise have nothing to do with the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, political correctness, or any other such platitude.

What took place on board that ship was a lapse of judgment that compromised good order and discipline, a key component to the effective operation of a ship or any other military organization. In this case, a senior member of the chain of command failed to live up to his responsibilities and as such has to pay the price. That's it, end of story, end of discussion!

The fact that members of his crew have come out in support of their Captain is inconsequential and perhaps a little bit troubling. One of the privileges of Command is the opportunity for each Commanding Officer (CO) to positively influence those under him. Unfortunately, this CO failed here too and, in my opinion, is not worthy of their support. The poor example he set by participating in those videos could negatively impact the professional development of the Officers and Enlisted Men serving with him.

Fortunately, his removal (and the investigation that is currently in progress) will set the record straight and remind all those subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice of the folly (and price) of inappropriate behavior regardless of rank or position. To do otherwise not only impacts discipline on the Enterprise and other Navy ships, but casts aspersions on the good work being done every day by other Commanding Officers throughout the Navy.

The men and women who serve in our Navy deserve only the best CO's to lead them. These men and women are professionals who joined the Navy to serve their country not to be amused by tasteless skits concocted to boost their morale. When leadership fails to measure up, it needs to be replaced.