Navy Leader Who Told Sailors to 'Clap Like We're at a Strip Club' Has Resigned

Command Master Chief Jonas Carter poses for a photo after donating to the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society during a fundraiser kickoff aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joseph A.D. Phillips/Released)
Military.com | By Hope Hodge Seck

A Navy command master chief who inadvertently made headlines with a raunchy direction to sailors ahead of a visit from the vice president has resigned, the service announced Tuesday.

Command Master Chief Jonas Carter, of the carrier Harry S. Truman out of Norfolk, Virginia, stepped down from his position as the ship's senior enlisted leader and will retire, the Truman's commanding officer, Capt. Nick Dienna, said in a public Facebook post.

Carter told sailors assembled aboard the carrier April 30 to hear a speech from Vice President Mike Pence to "clap like we're at a strip club" when Pence arrived.

The remark was reported by multiple news outlets present to cover the visit, and was quickly condemned by carrier leadership.

"This statement was inappropriate, and this issue is being addressed by Truman's leadership," spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Laura Stegherr said at the time.

Carter made his farewell in the statement posted by Dienna on Tuesday.

"I want one last chance to tell the extraordinary men and women of TRUMAN how blessed and thankful I am to have served as your Command Master Chief," Carter said. "When you find yourself making a mistake, own it, accept responsibility and learn from it. Today, I want each of you to know that I have taken full responsibility of my mistake last week and, together with my family, I have decided to retire."

Dienna noted that Carter had served in the Navy nearly 30 years, including in leadership positions aboard three aircraft carriers and as command master chief of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser Chancellorsville.

"I've seen firsthand -- and the more than 3,000 Sailors aboard Truman can testify to -- the incredible impact he's made to our command," Dienna wrote. "Whether it was a complex shipboard evolution, or a check-in with a new Sailor, Master Chief Carter took every tasking on with a fervent heart, a broad smile and a true sense of purpose. He left no doubt as to what kind of leader he is, or the kind of leader he wanted us all to be.

The commanding officer added that he wished Carter the best as he moved forward into retirement.

"Onboard USS Harry S. Truman, we measure ourselves by the highest standards of professionalism and personal integrity," he wrote. "I command Master Chief Carter for having the forthrightness and the courage to uphold this ethos by taking responsibility and holding himself accountable for his comments."

Pence appeared aboard the Truman to announce that President Donald Trump was reversing plans to retire the carrier early, adding that the ship would continue to fight for years to come.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.