The Navy on Friday confirmed responsibility for an obscene sky drawing made by a practicing aircrew over the town of Okanogan, Washington, northeast of Seattle.
— Alexander Tin (@alexandertinman) November 17, 2017
The crew of an EA-18G Growler attack jet flew the plane in a pattern that "left a condensed air trail resembling an obscene image to observers on the ground," a Navy representative said. "The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value," officials added, "and we are holding the crew accountable" for the phallic drawing.
Two separate, deadly collisions between Navy destroyers and commercial ships this summer were based on what the chief of naval operations called "avoidable" errors by the crew, a concerning Naval investigation made public Wednesday to The New York Times has found.
In the June incident, the U.S. destroyer Fitzgerald collided with a container ship near Japan, killing seven. "Many of the decisions made that led to this incident were the result of poor judgment and decision-making of the commanding officer," the report found, adding that the "crew was unprepared for the situation in which they found themselves through a lack of preparation, ineffective command and control, and deficiencies in training and preparations for navigation."
On Monday, the U.S. Navy ordered all 18,600 sailors stationed in Japan to remain on base and refrain from drinking alcohol, following an alleged drunk driving incident on Saturday. That incident, in which Okinawa police say U.S. Petty Officer 2nd Class Aimee Mejia hit two cars and injured two people while driving on the wrong side of the road, is the latest in a string of events that have strained relations between the U.S. military and Japanese communities. It occurred during a 30-day period of mourning the Navy was observing in Okinawa after a civilian contractor was charged with killing a 20-year-old Japanese woman and dumping her body on the side of the road. A U.S. sailor also pleaded guilty to raping a Japanese tourist at an Okinawa hotel in March.
The Japan-wide restrictions will be enforced until "all personnel understand the impact of responsible behavior on the U.S.-Japan alliance," Rear Admiral Matthew Carter said in a statement. "For decades we have enjoyed a strong relationship with the people of Japan. It is imperative that each sailor understand how our actions affect that relationship and the U.S. Japan alliance as a whole." The Navy can't enforce the drinking ban or travel restrictions on off-duty civilian contractors or family members of U.S. sailors, but commanders will encourage the civilians to comply, anyway.
Cmdr. Ronald Flanders, spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Japan, specified that the restrictions on movement will be in force until all personnel have received new training, but the drinking ban "will remain in effect until the commander of the 7th Fleet and the commander of Naval Forces Japan determine that all personnel have fully embraced their responsibilities of being a U.S. ambassador at all times." For that, "there is no timetable in place," Flanders added. Peter Weber
The U.S. Navy is investigating the secret filming of female officers aboard a submarine.
At least three women officers were taped for a year while showering and changing clothes in unisex bathrooms, CNN reports. The footage may have also been distributed to other crew members, according to the Navy's incident report. The alleged perpetrators were removed from the ship, pending investigation results.
"Incidents that violate the trust of our sailors go against every core value we hold sacred in our naval service," Navy Vice Adm. M.J. Connor wrote. "We go to war together with the confidence that we can rely on each other in ALL circumstances, and incidents of sailors victimizing other sailors represent an extreme breach of that trust!" Julie Kliegman