Memo to Pacific commanders addresses rash of alcohol-related crimes
Adm. Walter F. Doran has called on Navy leaders in a memo to find ways to combat alcohol-related incidents within the fleet.
“Recently, after reviewing a random sample of three weeks of reports, it has become evident to me that a renewed focus on personal behavior of [Pacific Fleet] personnel is warranted,” the Pacific Fleet commander wrote in the private message to Navy leaders.
Navy spokesmen told Stars and Stripes that the memo, first reported in Navy Times, was written after Doran read a summary of recent weekly reports. He referred to drunken-driving cases, sexual assaults and hazing in the letter.
“The message Adm. Doran sent out was based on anecdotal evidence he randomly picked out [from situation report summaries],” said Jon Yoshishige, a Pacific Fleet media officer. Those summaries are periodic reports from various commands across the Pacific Fleet.
“In a glance at the summaries, [Doran] noticed an increase of alcohol-related incidents,” Yoshishige added.
Pacific Fleet spokesmen could not provide statistics on reported cases of alcohol abuse. Yoshishige said the Navy does not track monthly figures broken down by the type of alcohol-related incidents.
In the letter, Doran wrote: “During a typical week, [Pacific Fleet] commands reported four sexual assaults, nine incidents of assault and battery, and four DUI’s [driving under influence]. As most of you know, there is also an increasing number of incidents involving hazing.”
Pacific Fleet officials could not say whether the incidents occurred in the 3rd Fleet area, which includes San Diego and Hawaii, or the 7th Fleet zone that encompasses Japan and Asia.
In the letter, Doran said many of the incidents occurred among junior sailors off duty, late at night and involved alcohol.
“About half of the physical assault and sexual assault incidents were ‘blue on blue’ with sailors as both suspects and victims,” Doran wrote. “I know you all have heard this before but it is time to change the statistics. We owe it to our sailors.”
Doran called on commanders and command master chiefs to find ways to reduce misconduct, which “negatively affects retention and has the potential to diminish confidence in the institution by the public and host nations abroad.”
Doran told commanders to submit ideas up the chain of command. “We must focus on prevention. I need your collective efforts in this area,” he wrote. “Clearly, we need to do more than provide education and training as published in existing policy guidelines.”