Seven Chief Petty Officers Punished for Misconduct Underway

The guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66) transits the Mediterranean Sea. (Navy Photo)
The guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66) transits the Mediterranean Sea. (Navy Photo)

Half-a-dozen chief petty officers attached to the deployed guided-missile cruiser Hue City have been punished in connection with an adultery scandal, and another has been disciplined for drunkenness, officials confirmed Thursday.

The non-judicial punishment proceedings took place April 21 to 23, Lt. Cmdr. Myers Vasquez, a spokesman for Navy Surface Forces Atlantic, told An investigation into misconduct aboard the ship began April 19, when someone dropped an anonymous complaint into Hue City Commanding Officer Capt. Daniel Gillen's suggestion box, he said.

Ultimately, the probe revealed that two chiefs had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a petty officer aboard the ship, and four others had known of the affair but failed to report it to leadership. The scandal was first reported by Navy Times on Thursday.

"Obviously, it's an inappropriate relationship and, to maintain good order and discipline, swift action had to be taken," Vasquez said. "There was an inappropriate relationship ongoing. The other piece was there was four chiefs who knew of it and did not report it. That loses trust in the leadership there."

Another chief was found to have engaged in drunk and disorderly conduct and disrespect of an officer during a port visit in a separate incident, Vasquez said.

The disciplinary proceedings took place while the cruiser was underway, he said. The Hue City has been deployed since January and made a February port visit in Lithuania, according to public releases and photographs. After conducting exercises in the Gulf of Cadiz in March, the ship is now operating with the 5th Fleet.

Adultery is punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The two chiefs found to have engaged in the relationship with the petty officer were also disciplined for fraternization, Vasquez said, while the four other chiefs involved in the scandal were charged with failure to report fraternization.

Disciplinary action is pending for the petty officer, who is currently off the ship, supporting another tasking.

Still undecided is whether any of the sailors will be sent home in the aftermath of the investigation.

Vasquez said the sailors are all currently still assigned to the ship, and Gillen, the commanding officer, will determine if any additional administrative actions are warranted.

"It's really about good order and discipline for the ship," he said.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at@HopeSeck.

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