Naples captain's mast part of effort to stamp out vandalism
NAPLES, Italy — Capt. Floyd Hehe practiced peer pressure with a twist Monday morning.
He mustered about 300 sailors to a public captain’s mast for two of their peers charged with involvement in the vandalizing of a vending machine.
His motive, Hehe said, was not to publicly humiliate the two, or exaggerate the level of seriousness of an incident that involved about $400 worth of damage to a machine that dispenses candy and snack food.
“I want to use this to mold and shape their behavior,” said Hehe, commander of Naval Support Activity Naples. “I want them to use peer pressure to help instill good order and discipline.”
But, the vending machine incident isn’t an isolated one. Last year, the command paid out more than $123,000 to repair damage caused by vandals at the barracks alone, Hehe said.
“I can’t tolerate that anymore, and I need your help,” Hehe told the group at the nonjudicial punishment proceeding for the two sailors — one charged with kicking and damaging the vending machine, and the other for idly watching it happen. A captain’s mast is held for sailors who have committed minor offenses.
“I need your peer pressure to make things better in your life,” Hehe said.
On Aug. 27, Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Gramling was caught on videotape “taking his frustration” out on a food vending machine in the barracks, Hehe said. Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Standridge failed to stop him.
Their punishment is 45 days of extra duty and forfeiture of one-half of their pay for two months, money that Hehe said he wants to put toward renovation projects and upkeep of barracks’ common areas.
The two sailors declined to be interviewed afterward.
Too often, sailors living in the bachelor’s quarters fail to follow the rules, said Chief Petty Officer Gil Fogata, manager of the bachelors’ enlisted quarters. The most commonly broken rules are smoking in undesignated areas and failing to pick up their trash in common areas.
“He’s begging us for our help because the condition of the barracks is not improving,” Fogata said.