The skipper of the San Diego-based amphibious landing-dock ship Pearl Harbor has lost his job after his vessel ran aground last week in the Persian Gulf, Navy officials said yesterday.
Cmdr. Xavier Valverde, 44, has been reassigned to the staff of the Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain while the July 21 incident is investigated. The Pearl Harbor apparently hit a shoal while conducting a well-deck drill off Kuwait, a Navy spokeswoman said. The ship backed off the sand bar without sustaining damage. Valverde, a 26-year Navy veteran, had taken command of the Pearl Harbor in November. Rear Adm. Kendall Card, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, demoted him last weekend.
The Navy has a long tradition of letting the blood flow whenever something bad happens. The Army and Air Force should take note. The AF could have quieted things down over Minot by slaying everyone in sight and then rebuilding, vice letting it drag on for weeks and then only cutting a few throats. The Army could have done the same with the Abu Grab thing, but chose to let the press continue to have a field day even up to today. This is one of the fine Navy traditions that the other branches have failed to grasp, but it works well to make the press go away.
If a skipper puts his ship or crew in danger the boss says that is it and off with their head. The press gets no chance at traction because there is no one left to blame. If the snap judgement is wrong then things are put to right, but that is never noticed by the press or anyone else. The press loves a scandal and will pursue it as long as there is someone up the chain to blame, but you take the wind out of their sails when you fire an O-5 or O-6 for an incident. If the Army had immediately fired the commander at Abu Grab the story would have faded rather quickly, but instead they laid the blame on some low ranking soldier, the story will never die and has lead to all kinds of conspiracy theories.
If you think this is draconian way of doing business and don't agree with me lets hear it.