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CAG Statement

CAG Statement

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Published by: lexltoo on Feb 06, 2012
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From: CAPT Stephen McInerney To: Commander, THIRD Fleet.


1. I commanded Carrier Air Wing SEVENTEEN from August 2010 until December 2011. I closely observed CDR Jackson and VAQ-134 during two pre-deployment workup cycles and a combat deployment to the SEVENTH and FIFTH Fleet AOR. I flew numerous training and combat missions with CDR Jackson and his aircrew. I knew many of his Officers, ChiefPetty Officers and Sailors from my tours as the Commanding Officer of a EA-6B Prowler squadron and as Commanding Officer of the EA-6B FRS. I spent several weeks in the squadron spaces during CDR Jackson's tenure as Executive Officer while I completed an EA-6B CAT IV syllabus. I observed a significant, measurable improvement in the squadron's operational and maintenance effectiveness and its morale when he assumed command. I strongly recommended CDR Jackson be awarded the Bronze Star for his leadership and combat performance while in the FIFTH Fleet AOR. I extended CDR Jackson beyond his Projected Rotation Date (PRD) of NOVII because I considered ranking him two of seven commanding officers in the air wing with a recommendation of Early Promote. 2. I spent extended periods of time in VA Q-134' s squadron spaces at N AS Whidbey Island and visited its Ready Room on board VINSON almost daily. My impression was that the wardroom was calm, friendly and professional. Morale throughout the squadron was high, despite an abnormally high OPTEMPO and the challenges inherent in transitioning from a land-based Expeditionary squadron to a carrier air wing. What was noticeable about VAQ-134 was the greater number of junior officers present in the Ready Room during all hours, on flying and non-flying days, when compared to other Ready Rooms in the air wing. 3. Immediately following CDR Jackson's firing, every Officer in the command, with the exception of the Officer who made the complaint, lined up outside his stateroom to offer support and say goodbye. Dozens of Sailors also lined up outside the former CO's stateroom, leading the CMC to limit the line to 30 Sailors. 4. The complainant is a mediocre first-tour ECMO, who had failed the OPEN, CLOSED BOOK and EP exams during the squadron's NATOPS evaluation in 2010. She subsequently failed her annual OPEN BOOK exam, which she had turned in late. The primary duty of any Officer new to the Fleet is to learn her aircraft and its tactics. Knowledge ofNATOPS is the expected minimum, and failure to do so indicates a serious lack of dedication. According to statements of her fellow junior officers enclosed in CDR Jackson's appeal, this Officer spent significant amounts oftime with a disgruntled Department Head discussing IG investigations and perceived faults of the Commanding Officer.

5. The disgruntled Department Head filed a Navy Equal Opportunity Formal Complaint in November 2011, which was subsequently found to be unsubstantiated.

6. The evidence considered during CDR Jackson's nonjudicial punishment hearing
consisted primarily of statements included in the PACIFIC FLEET INSPECTION GENERAL REPORT OF INVESTIGATION Case #201102387 (22NOV2011). This evidence is incomplete and statements included in this report were taken out of context.

7. CDR Jackson was found guilty of violating the Navy sexual harassment policy by wrongfully discussing matters of a sexual nature with female and male subordinates in an unwelcome manner, creating and condoning an intimidating, hostile and offensive work environment. The incident took place when CDR Jackson attempted to explain the environment of a carrier air wing to junior officers, including a female Air Force officer, all who had only experience in expeditionary deployments to Air Force bases. He used the analogy of the "walk of shame" to illustrate the double standards in today's society. A Women's Studies Professor gave me the same analogy during undergraduate sensitivity training in 1981. A search of GOOGLE's search engine for "Walk of Shame" turns up over two million hits, including the article "the Walk of Shame: A Nonnative Description" found in the 2010 Institute of General Semantics journal and the book Relating Difficulty: The Process of Constructing and Managing Difficult Interaction. I understand the squeamishness of our leadership on any topic involving sex, and a more cautious, politically astute Officer would not have used this analogy, but it was hardly a risque, demeaning or hostile discussion. This is confirmed among the statements 29 officers enclosed in CDR Jackson's appeal. The IG investigation took this discussion out of context, did not interview enough Officers to determine the environment of the discussion and served to incorrectly color the attempt of the Commanding Officer to train his Ready Room on Navy culture. I believe the statement by.' •• ...... , which was not included in the IG investigation, is closer to the truth. _. 's statement is enclosure (1) of CDR Jackson's appeal. Additionally Air Force .......... 's statement also offered her interpretation of CDR Jackson's statements and expressed concern that her statement had been misinterpreted by the IG in enclosure (3) of CDR Jackson's appeal).
8. CDR Jackson was also found guilty of three specifications of conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman. First he allegedly wrongfully and dishonorably purchased beer for a subordinate and brought it to him while he was working in a hangar in NAS Fallon. This charge was not one of the two charges forwarded by the Fleet Inspector General for action as a substantiated allegation. The charge originated from a statement by the Officer who initiated the IG Investigation during a separate Preliminary Investigation into an unsubstantiated EO complaint and the IG did not interview the Officers involved in this incident. The Preliminary Investigating Officer for the EO complaint did not seek corroborating evidence because he was gathering only information regarding alleged violations of the Navy's Equal Opportunity Policy. Other Officers present during this incident do not corroborate this interpretation of events. Statements in CDR Jackson's appeal by Officers and the Sailor (Enclosure (8) CDR Jackson Appeal) who were there at

the time of the alleged incident portray a Commanding Officer recognizing the work of a 30-year old Petty Officer and his subordinates working additional hours on another air wing's aircraft enroute to COMPTUEX. This alleged incident occurred during the high stress environment of an Air Wing Fallon, the first his squadron had participated in over 15 years. His actions are consistent with a long history of Officers providing food and beverages to the grown men who work for them. His actions were part of his teambuilding efforts, a significant objective during Air Wing Fallon. Because the

Preliminary Investigating Officer did not pursue any line of questioning to determine whether this alleged incident met the specifications of conduct unbecoming an officer, and because the statements of the Sailor and Officers present during the alleged incident were not available at the time when nonjudicial punishment was awarded, the evidence used to find CDR Jackson guilty was incomplete, the evidence was wrong and additional evidence should be considered.
9. CDR Jackson was also found guilty of unlawfully and dishonorably sticking an umbrella up between the legs of . I believe the 10 investigation used inflammatory verbs such as "sodomized" out of context. The 1G uses only the statement of the purported victim and it appears from the subsequent statement from the purported victim, that the version in the IG's report is incorrect and taken out of context. Again, the evidence is incomplete. When additional evidence from CDR Jackson's appeal is considered, in particular the statement of the purported victim, the misconduct of the commanding officer in this incident does not rise to the level requiring nonjudicial punishment or being subsequently be relieved of command. 10. The final charge on which CDR Jackson was found guilty of using defamatory or derogatory language. It was alleged that he used this language over the course of a year. Informed of this charge just two hours before Admiral's Mast, CDR Jackson denies it. We ended the career and ruined the reputation of an outstanding combat-experienced commanding officer because he allegedly used bad words. He was not counseled. This alleged habit of using strong language was never brought to his attention. His ISIC was not informed. The Informal Resolution System (IRS) or the EEOIEO office were not used. Positive results in Command Climate surveys, Safety surveys, and multiple performance metrics were not reviewed, or if they were, they were ignored. An Officer with a proven record of intelligence and responsiveness who was excelling in his first command tour was not allowed to address these alleged deficiencies and correct them. If they had been brought to my attention I would have immediately and formally counseled CDR Jackson for the record and directed that the tools available in the Navy's equal opportunity program be used to determine the climate of the command. 11. The following comments do not directly address the primary focus of this letter, which is that the process and procedure followed by the 1G makes its investigation insufficient as evidence., and it was this investigation that was used against CDR Jackson. However, this case involves a larger issue. 12. I do not understand why the PACIFIC FLEET Navy Inspector General conducted this investigation. It does not meet the criteria listed on the Naval Inspector General's

own website. And if it did, the Navy Region Northwest IG or the Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet IG should have conducted it. This investigation was the primary source of evidence used against CDR Jackson. It is incomplete and statements used to substantiate allegations were taken out of context. - The Naval Inspector General's home page states that the Inspector General will intervene in EO/sexual harassment complaints when the military member has attempted to pursue the matter using the appropriate process and the CMEO program management has not been responsive. Or when the complainant can provide evidence that the EO process is biased or the investigation was improperly conducted. This is not the case. - The web site also states that generally the Navy Inspector General refers complaints to the local IG for review and resolution. The lack of a thorough and timely investigation can be directly attributed to the geographic distance of the PACIFIC FLEET IG from the squadron. - The web site states that the complaint should be made within 90 days of the alleged wrongdoing, unless the complainant can demonstrate the complainant was unable to meet the time requirement due to extraordinary circumstances. No extraordinary circumstances were present. - Generally the Naval Inspector General and local IG's do not accept a complaint if the complaint is not submitted within 90 days, the complaint is not addressed with the local command or the appropriate complaint process is not used. -According to the Naval IG website, most investigations are completed within 90 days. This did not happen. This was not a complex investigation. Only eleven witnesses were interviewed. No Chief Petty Officers or Sailors were interviewed. There were no witnesses from CDR Jackson's operational or type wing interviewed. I was asked several times by the PACIFIC FLEET investigating officer what date deployment was to begin and what day CDR Jackson was to fly aboard. The report from the PACIFIC FLEET IG substantiating allegations against CDR Jackson arrived at the Strike Group the day he reported on board for deployment. It was more than 90 days since the initiation of the investigation and the timing of its arrival ensured that he could not refuse nonjudicial punishment or have his attorney present. The appearance of a pre-ordained conclusion that this Officer was guilty and subsequent command influence to ensure CDR Jackson was found guilty of something is difficult to ignore. 12. The timing of this affair, occurring in the initial days of this squadron's second combat deployment in five months, significantly increased operational and safety risks. As a result of several flight and maintenance mistakes made by both aircrew and maintenance personnel immediately following the news of CDR Jackson being fired, I suspended flight operations for VA Q-134. 13. Of any senior Officer in CDR Jackson's immediate or peripheral chains of command, I am uniquely qualified to evaluate, investigate and substantiate the validity of charges made against CDR Jackson. I have belonged to three aircraft communities, including the EA-6B community. I was the commanding officer of the EA-6BIEA-18G FRS for 28 months. I know all the officers involved. I was in constant contact with the VAQ Wing and knew of personnel issues associated with this squadron. I worked closely with CDR Jackson for over 18 months. In addition, I am known for being an exceptionally liberal

advocate for diversity in the Navy and for having little patience for "Frat-boy" buffoonery. The Inspector General did not interview me during this investigation. I was not allowed to adjudicate this matter. This lack of trust by my chain of command puzzles me.

14. I can be reached at •••••


Copy to: CDR Jackson

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