Friday, February 10, 2012

The Year of the Keel-Haul Rotates Into 2012: Holly Graf Replacement Fired From Cowpens

The seaweed does not lie.
This just in via the ever-communicative Seaweed Semaphores: Captain Holly Graf's replacement aboard the USS Cowpens has been fired. The newly ousted commander, Captain Robert Marin, took over the Cow after Holly Graf was keel-hauled in early 2010. Now Marin has been tossed overboard, allegedly for "inappropriate behavior." 

This news of course explains all those blog hits I've been getting from Yokosuka, Japan, where the Cow is based. Marin is not the first Navy officer to get tossed from command this year. Just last month, Capt. Jeffrey Riedel was fired from his position as program manager for littoral combat ships at Naval Sea Systems Command. 


More on this as it floats in...


Update: And it has! Sort of. I have a somewhat lighthearted update here. Unless, of course, you believe in curses....


55 comments:

Old Mossback said...

I think we may want to look at the details some more? If the recently sacked CO of the USS Cowpens was the one that replaced Captain Holly Graf,back in Jan. 2010, and he was sacked this month that would mean he was CO of the USS Cowpens for over 24 months? That would be very unusal for a CO tour to be as long as 24 months.Are we sure the details of this story is correct?

Cow Girl said...

Strange but true. Captain Marin took over the Cow on 13 January 2010.

Navy Guy said...

NFW. This can't be for real. Yeah, I guess it can. Who is the FNG?

Old Mossback said...

Opps as I stand corrected.

I know there are some people may think I am being foolish, but there are ships that are cursed and a floating jinx.

Old Mossback said...

Opps as I stand corrected.

I know there are some people may think I am being foolish, but there are ships that are cursed and a floating jinx.

Old Mossback said...

The USS Cowpens FNG now is some poor staff officer that was unlucky to draw the short straw. Poor bugger.

Susan Katz Keating said...

The Seaweed Semaphores tell me he only is in place until April. But that is just the seaweed talking...

Al H said...

Mossback called it. The curse of the Cowpens continues................

Miguel de Anda said...

That O-6 doesn't care about it because he will get a fat retirement check anyways. I hate when people think they are untouchable.

Susan Katz Keating said...

Okay, so the *new* FNG on tap supposedly is A-okay. Good commander, good officer. That's what the semaphores tell me.

Andrew said...

This makes no sense. I was on that ship for Graf and for Marin before I transferred to shore duty and Marin was a by the book straight arrow.

Anonymous said...

The ship did it.

Old Mossback said...

To Andreew:

How many times in life have we all heard this? "He seemed like such a nice guy, I cannot believe it"
From what I have been hearing from the messdeck press is that Captain Marin the old sea dog most likely launched his torpedo where it was not authorized to be launched.
At this time there has been no reported victims and some shipmates have said Captain Marin was a good skipper, that cared for his people.
On a serious note, once a ship gets a reputation for being a jinmx, career killer, or cursed, the privilaged class, hard chargers,and top of the food chain, use whatever influence they have to avoid duty on that cursed ship. The future of the USS Cowpens is grim as the Navy will be forced to send CPO's, SCPO's, and even the MCPO's all on a short timer mode as their papers to transfer to the fleet reserve have been submitted,
As far as the officers that will end up on the USS Cowpens in the future? That ship will end up as a toxic waste dump containing officers that have nowhere else to go.
The USS Cowpens will be the towel boy/girl for the Pacific carrier task groups for now on.

Cow Girl said...

No way! Long live the Mighty Moo! lol

Old Mossback said...

Cow Girl:

The Mighty Moo may have good people on board but if you research the history of the USS Cowpens and even if a person ignores the history of Captain Graf and Marin, we also have her infamous record as one of the Navy newest ships that was reported to be falling apart as reported by the INSURV board that was conducted.
The ship would best serve the Navy as a target towing vessel, electronic target for training, a backdrop for Hollyood movies and stuff like that,

Susan Katz Keating said...

Hmmmmm... could this be true? Is it possible that a ship could be... cursed?

Feisty Dave said...

I bet the next CO can't wait to take command of this tainted ship!

MDR said...

No worries folks 'cause we got our SECNAV to see us through the stormy seas. hahahahaha no we don't, he's a milquetoast hahahahhahahahahahah

Old Mossback said...

To Susan:

From the time Ugh the cavemnan staddled a log floating on top of the water,and what later evolved into ships, these vessels developed personalites and traits much like people. There are happy and sad ships and as well as lucky and unlucky ships, the USS Cowpens may be a cursed ship and it could be only a matter time until Zombies attempt to take over the USS Cowpens.

BillT said...

The ship would best serve the Navy as a target towing vessel...

The ship would best serve the Navy as a target.

Fixed it for ya.

Anonymous said...

If we assume for this conversation that Marin was good and competent as some have alleged here:

We have not heard anecdotes of his misbehavior from anyone in the current crew yet.

Some malcontent who did not like him for some reason was able to use the coward's tool of calling in on some hotline and bring him down.

I don't see why any really good and competent officer would risk his whole life and personal reputation to take command of a vessel like this. Granted that officer may have the professional and personal qualifications to take the job and do well. The reward for doing well is to go on to much greater success in the Navy, but the risk is loss of his or her whole professional and personal life. The moderator has highlighted many instances of this in this forum in the last year.

Yes, some of the relieved CO's are bad and perhaps suffering from alcoholism ( those individuals should have been better vetted by the Navy before they were sent into the job ) but some were accused of mere human frailties, which might come to light in any working environment, yet they were crucified in public because some little "pi-- ant" ( pardon the crudeness ) was able to find a phone number to tell on them.

The entire system is flawed, from the way these complaints are allowed to be lodged to the way they dealt with in the end ( the Graf fiasco ).

Cow Girl said...

I agree that ships have personalities. I just hope the Moo does not know how to read. lol

BM2 Hunter said...

Captain Marin is one of the best CO's I every served under he cares about the mission its people and the job the navy needs to retain captain marin and do a in depth investigation to see if this has any fact. Serving under captain marin on the bridge as boatswain mate of the watch I can tell all of you reading this that captain marins morale fiber is untouchable. BM2 Hunter Good luck skipper.

Susan Katz Keating said...

But perhaps the right commander could reverse the curse... if in fact the ship is so afflicted. And wouldn't that be a nice seagull feather in the captain's cap? To say, "I'm the one who set the Cowpens on her proper path?"

Advocate said...

Anon,
You started your post with an “assumption” that Marin was good and competent and then proceeded to malign someone as a malcontent for presumably using a Hotline for its intended purpose. Where have you been?
First, let’s assume that it was a Hotline call. It would be refreshing to see that the Hotline actually got off its lazy behind and did something. You point to the decades-old Graf fiasco and most of us see the Hotline and IG as organizations designed to protect and cover-up the actions of the most senior, while periodically hammering someone only after getting the “OK” from milquetoast or the CNO. Do you know how many Hotline calls are made and promptly buried? If this was a Hotline, and the Hotline actually did something, it wasn’t a result of a malcontent or anyone else.
Is this your way of labeling as a Coward anyone who does what he or she is supposed to do when there appears to be a violation of some rule, regulation, or order? Think about it from the other side -- if during the investigation it is learned that other people knew about whatever the impropriety may have been and did nothing, then those “non-cowards” –- those who knew and didn’t say anything -- could conceivably have their own problems because they had a duty to report on the impropriety. Yes, you could be damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
I see one very accurate comment in your post, “The entire system is flawed.” It’s flawed because the system does not act based on standard rules that should be applied equally to all. It’s flawed because of PC and the ability of some to manipulate and provide cover to those in positions to influence the system, known by several names: Sisterhood, LCD, etc…pick one.

Old Mossback said...

Looking at all the code words it is a safe bet that Captain Marin who by all accounts we have been seeing is a fine ships C.O.
We are adults and we all know good people can be flawed and most likely Captain Marin was involved in a relationship that he should not have been involved in.Things like this happen and will again.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, most hot line callers are petty grevience holders who are trying to get back at someone, not really right worngs. I also feel most of them are cowards. I said that was my opinion, not an absolute statement of fact.

The little coward who leaked the videos re Capt Honors is exactly that, a malcontent who wanted to hurt Capt Honors, not right wrongs.

I am not defending Capt Honors, who I think was guilty of extremely bad judgement and has paid a very high price for that bad judgement. I wonder what the sailor who sent the video to the newspaper thinks of him/herself today?

chief torpedoman said...

I take exception to calling the Cowpens as only good for a target ship as I am sure her crew would as well. The blame for the infamous Insurv failures lies right at the door of the navy brass who came up with the "optimal manning" and reduced maintenance of the ship. The big ticket items that were degraded such as the radar are far beyond the reach of the ships force OPTAR. Only the Type Comanders have those kind of funds.

Don't assume that the CO had done anything wrong here. Many a CO has been removed for something far beyond his control becasue the CO has the ultimate responsibility.

Also comparing him the to the Sea Hag is apples and oranges

chief torpedoman said...

I take exception to calling the Cowpens as only good for a target ship as I am sure her crew would as well. The blame for the infamous Insurv failures lies right at the door of the navy brass who came up with the "optimal manning" and reduced maintenance of the ship. The big ticket items that were degraded such as the radar are far beyond the reach of the ships force OPTAR. Only the Type Comanders have those kind of funds.

Don't assume that the CO had done anything wrong here. Many a CO has been removed for something far beyond his control becasue the CO has the ultimate responsibility.

Also comparing him the to the Sea Hag is apples and oranges

Susan Katz Keating said...

On the subject of Capt Honors - I actually think he got a bump rap. I don't think he deserved the amount of trouble he got into, especially when his superiors knew about the ongoing videos, and they were two years old by the time the Virginia Pilot (I think that was the paper)got hold of them. Interesting factoid: Honors and Graf had the same lawyer. But I digress.

As for the Cowpens: I wonder if, instead of being cursed, the ship is blessed. Perhaps it only had bad luck in drawing two COs who got keel-hauled, and was blessed by having a crackerjack crew to keep her afloat and in good stead.

What about that? Hmmmm?

Anonymous said...

The Cowpens has always had a fantastic crew. Look what they were up against with Cpt Graff and they still did a great job. Curse or no curse they rose above it.

Minicapt said...

Change the name from "Cowpens" to "Open Range" and inculcate a new sense of open air freedom.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

Advocate, it is time you realize that hotlines are just whistle blowing by another name. No matter what anyone may say or what laws may be passed to protect or defend whistle blowers, most people disaprove of them. Whistle blowers may occasionally take someone down, but the wisltle blower will almost certaintly be taken down himself.

Advocate said...

Anon,
From where have you received your personal knowledge regarding your statement that “most people disapprove” of them (Whistleblowers). While I agree that Whistleblowers are almost always reprised against, if you have inside knowledge regarding the Navy’s disapproval of Whistleblowers, and hence the history of reprisal, by all means enlighten us.
Frankly, I’m at a loss for why you think that someone who makes a call regarding fraud, waste or abuse has it in for a particular person. Are you saying that Beach Party Bob should have been allowed to have a family party at the expense of the taxpayers and force the sailors to be a party to the party?
Do we understand that you disapprove of Hotlines as well as Whistleblowers?

BillT said...

I take exception to calling the Cowpens as only good for a target ship as I am sure her crew would as well. The blame for the infamous Insurv failures lies right at the door of the navy brass who came up with the "optimal manning" and reduced maintenance of the ship.

And would you expect to see those funds released (or even increased) in order to bring Cowpens up to standards, especially since -- you nailed the cause to the mainmast, btw -- doing so will raise some highly awkward questions for the budget hierophants?

Susan Katz Keating said...

Horrible Holly. Owen Honors. Beach Party Bob.

Imagine yourself as Chief Analyst of Enemy Bluewaters for the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Flotilla, and ask yourself...

Do we have the best PsyOp people, or what?

*high five to us*

Cow Girl said...

ROTFL!

Anonymous said...

Advocate, in my opinion hotline callers and whistle blowers are mostly losers. ( note, I said mostly ) They would have other interests and have something better to do with their time and lives if they wern't losers. School yard tattle tales.

Advocate said...

Anon,
So you're saying that all of the victims of Horrible Holly Graf are losers -- excuse me -- mostly losers? You don’t think they had anything better to do than spend their time trying to get an unresponsive Hotline and IG to do something about Graf. I think they had much better things to do in service to their country, our country, than spend so much time reporting on Graf. The sad part of it is that the Hotline and IG disrespected each and every sailor who tried to do the right thing. Their complaints were substantiated after decades of Navy cover-up, and now you’re saying they are losers and schoolyard tattle tales. For shame, Anon! Try telling that to those victims of Graf who lost their career -- not because they were a tattle tale -- but because the Hotline/IG/Navy refused to act to protect Graf's victims.

Susan Katz Keating said...

Anon, but how should a crew proceed when all recourse has been exhausted? Just give up? The hotlines are not there for people to pick up the phone as a first resort. In the Graf case, it was a last resort. It wasn't just one person who had problems with her, either. I think her case is an example of how the IG/hotline process works.

Anonymous said...

I thought we were talking about Marin here, not Graf. If the consensus is that Marin is a good man, then the hotline complaint that did him in tends to support my theory.

I stated my opinion about the use of hotlines and those who use them. I am un moved by Advocate's psuedo whining about how people in authority always seem to stifle his complaints. I have listened to that type of lament for years and the more I match it up with the type of people who manifest it the more my offered stereotype seems to fit.

Advocate said...

Anon,
You were claiming that Whistleblowers and those who call a Hotline were losers and tattle tales. Now you want to say that it only applies to Marin? Let’s get it straight, what are you really saying?
Are you saying that you are a person in authority? If so, you of all people should be supporting and promoting Hotlines and IGs, not suggesting that there is no need for them because those who use them are petty grievance holders and cowards. Your words, not mine.
Anon, I’m confused –- what’s the complaint and what’s being stifled?

COWPENS Alum said...

As a former COWPENS sailor, I'd say a stunning 6 Battle E awards in a row is not a sign of a ship that was cursed from the beginning. There is no tighter-knit crew on a surface vessel than the one on the COWPENS. I doubt you could find a more energetic wardroom in the Pacific. Until recently, there was not vessel one with a finer CO. CAPT Marin was an excellent CO, and the COWPENS Alum community is shocked to see him go down.

Susan Katz Keating said...

Cowpens Vet - This was my theory, mentioned above, that the Cowpens has been blessed with having an awesome crew. Your comments about Capt Marin are consistent with everything I've heard. I will be interested to see the reasons for his ouster, if those ever are released.

Thank you for your service. It is much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

The reasons for his ouster will never be released. It will prove to be because of an exciting, titilating accusation delivered by some hotline complaint, that proves to be eventually un sbustantiatable or eventually all falls apart or gets reversed by some higher authority.

In the mean time Captain Marin's career and personal life will be a shambles.

The Navy's rush to purge itself lest it draw some criticism from the press or some politician. Why can the guy before the investigation is complete? Why deliver a SECNAV letter of censure to Honors before the BOI votes to keep him in the Navy? Stupid, incompetent, frightened upper management.

Susan Katz Keating said...

And yet, and yet... look what happened to the BOI recommendation on how to proceed re Holly Graf. It's all so very disjointed and inconsistent.

Advocate said...

Anon,
If you’re the same Anon who said that Whistleblowers were grievance holders and cowards, I’m tending to agree with you on your latest post -- partly because you didn’t really name-call and broad-brush Whistleblowers. There are reasons to relieve someone prior to an investigation, and this might be one of them, we may never know. It’s also possible that PC is at work and the failure of the Navy to act in the Graf case has resulted in a knee-jerk reaction in the Marin case -- after years of doing nothing and allowing Holly to abuse people, the Navy now has to show that it is responsive to anything. IMHO, you hit the proverbial nail on the head: Stupid, incompetent, frightened upper management. Of course, that’s not to say that we still won’t see cover-ups for the selected and protected courtesy of a Hotline or IG taking direction from that same upper management!

Susan Katz Keating said...

Anon - Have you yourself run afoul of the Navy at some point? If so, you are most welcome to tell the tale to us, your invisible correspondents!

Anonymous said...

I have never run afoul of the Navy establishment. Conversely, by most standards I am and have been very successful as an officer in the Navy. I just don't subscribe to what I consider the blue nosed hypocracy that I feel gets the Navy into a Graf like mess in the first place and the miserably incompetent way they handled it after they got into it.

Assume the Graf fiasco on Cowpens was as the IG report described it. If I had been calling the shots, I would have dealt with Graf via an adverse fitness report, and there would have been far less publicity and loud public discussion. The adverse fitness report, if properly worded, would have truncated her career in its tracks. A Captain going up for promotion to RDML with a strongly worded adverse fitness report in their record , in a job like that one, is out of contention immediately. She would have retired, just as she is apparently now, and we all would have been saved the drama.

No, I don't like whistle blowers and hot line callers. I have gotten through life, many times facing extreme adversity of situation, without whistle blowing, even though I certainly could have blown one from time to time. I just feel it is a cowardly way to improve your situation or right a wrong. That is just me expressing my personal philosophy.

No one has gained anything, in my opinion, from any of this. Many of your contributors are mightily upset over how it all played out, but I can tell you from my point of reference, from where I sit today, that this course of events was inevitable from the beginning, all things considered. If the same situation started to unravel today, it would end the same way, unless the people at the very top were to say to themselves " do we really like being drug through the dirt so much that we will open up this can of worms again? " In my own military professional life , my constant refrain when things go terribly worng has been " we do the same dumb thngs over and over again and wonder why we end up in trouble." In a world controled by grandstanding politicians, I don't see things getting any better.

Advocate said...

Anon, just a couple brief comments. You say that a bad Fitrep would have resolved the whole matter. Would that have been a bad Fitrep more than 20 years ago or a bad Fitrep a couple years ago? I suspect you meant a couple years ago since you’re referring to her not making flag rank. That’s all well and good and certainly keeps things quiet but it does little to address the destroyed careers and lives of those that the HAG left in her wake. What about them?

You don’t like whistleblowers. That’s fine, but what were Graf’s victims supposed to do? Were they just supposed to stand idly by waiting to see which of their shipmates would be next to fall victim to the HAG? They did what they had to do for themselves and their shipmates…they said something…and you’re saying that you don’t like them (whistleblowers).

In your opinion, nobody has gained anything. What about closure for the victims? It’s easy for those who have been fortunate enough to have done well and not fallen afoul of the Navy to think that this should have been handled quietly. But careers and lives have been destroyed and you’ve said nothing about that.

What has Ray Mabus done to make whole the innocent victims of the HAG now that the HAG is let off with a slap on the wrist?

Old Mossback said...

I have to support Advocate on this one.
The power and influence of the Graf family was such and the damage and harm Captain Holly Graf did to sailors over a period of decades is a smoking gun when it comes to having a hotline system. Can a hotline be abused and are there risks? I will say yes to that.
The defense of the hotline system is simple, if it was not for the hotline, Captain Holly Graf would may have ended up as a flag ranked officer and the hotline for whatever flaws is has prevented from what we know now today as a clear and present danger to the Navy and the country.
The hotline did get Holly Graf out of the Navy where the conventional system failed to do so, and that alone does justify the need of a hotline system.

Advocate said...

Anon,
Just a little more clarification. I’m an advocate for whistleblowers if for no other reason than they are subjected to retaliation because they are not protected by the Hotlines that they call. I actually think that there is a large degree of corruption in the Hotline system, and in the Graf case the Hotline only acted because it could no longer cover it up. Therein lies the reason for HAG managing to get away with her tirades for more than two decades.
The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) recently published a draft report on IGs and the dismal substantiation rate. The data was provided by the DoD -- so you know they’re probably trying to paint the best picture of themselves and data still shows what IGs are all about -- cover-up and reprisal. You can view the report for yourself at:

http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2012/02/draft-report-investigators-prematurely-closed-military-whistleblower-reprisal-cases.html

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know exactly what he is accused of?

Anonymous said...

What the heck did CAPT Marin do to get relieved?

Anonymous said...

Look at the May 14 on line edition of Stars and Stripes.