Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Courts-martials to begin this week in USS Wyoming shower video case

Steven Beardsley, Stars and Stripes, May 25

Three sailors are scheduled for court-martial in Florida this week on charges related to making and sharing videos of female officers and midshipmen showering aboard the ballistic missile submarine USS Wyoming.
The group is among seven sailors referred so far for court-martial in the case. All are second- or third-class petty officers accused of making the videos, trading them among each other and then lying about their existence when questioned. The disciplinary proceedings will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at Naval Station Mayport near Jacksonville, Fla.
The episode has been an embarrassment for the Navy as it integrates women into its submarine branch, one of the last communities in the service still largely restricted to men. The Wyoming, based at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., was one of the first ballistic submarines integrated with female officers when the process began in 2011.
The Navy originally investigated 12 sailors it believed either recorded the women or shared the videos. Seven of those were eventually referred for court-martial, while four others continue to await a decision on their case. One sailor was not charged.
Those accused face charges ranging from sexual misconduct to conspiracy and making false statements.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Charles Greaves will go to a general court-martial on Tuesday. The former missile technician is accused of making several of the videos and trading them for energy drinks to another of the accused, according to his charge sheet.
Petty Officers 2nd Class Joseph A. Bradley, an electronics technician, and 3rd Class Brandon S. McGarity, a missile technician, face special and summary courts-martial, respectively, on Wednesday.
The Wyoming is part of Submarine Group 10 out of Mayport. According to the redacted charge sheets, the sub was often underway when the videos were taken, between August 2013 and June 2014.
Several female midshipmen -- students at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis -- were aboard during that time for their summer cruises and were possibly filmed, according to Navy officials, although none of the videos were found.
Exactly how the videos were taken remains unclear. Berthing for female officers is segregated, but women use common shower facilities at designated times.
At the end of last year, 57 female officers were serving on 15 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine crews, two of which rotate for every sub. Smaller, Virginia-class fast-attack submarines began receiving female officers in January.
The Navy is planning for the first integration of enlisted women in a submarine crew next year, when it opens positions on the Ohio-class USS Michigan. Plans call for enlisted women to come aboard Virginia-class submarines beginning in 2020.
The service's long-term goal is to have females represent 20 percent of enlisted aboard all submarines.

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