A Tale of the Sea and Me (For Sam) – Installment 24

Louis Guimond, Part III

One lesson Louie Guimond gave me i could not repeat…and i regretted that.

i wrote of this lesson in my book, Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings. Before the USS Yosemite deployed in September 1983, a chief discovered an unauthorized absentee (UA) who was really a deserter in every way except the last escape clause in the way the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) was written, and it was certainly his intent to be a deserter.

i was the XO and a geographic bachelor as my new bride was in San Diego and would remain there until we returned from and Indian Ocean deployment in seven months. Consequently, i was aboard in my cabin when the shore patrol brought this problem child back to the ship.

At breakfast the next morning, i learned the quarterdeck had accepted this clown rather than notifying me. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. i was not a happy camper. i went back to the summer of 1968, when the shore patrol brought back a UA/deserter to the USS Hawkins quarterdeck. That quarterdeck watch notified that XO, Louie. He immediately ran to the quarterdeck and went berserk on everyone near. He refused to accept the sailor and demanded the sailor be sent to base security.

Thus the ship avoided having an organizational terrorist on board and counting against their complement, a spot that could be filled with a productive sailor. They also had avoided dealing with a complex UCMJ legal process that would be time consuming and distracting court martial.

But my quarterdeck had accepted the criminal and i was stuck. My concern i didn’t get the opportunity to do what Louis did 15 years earlier proved valid. That sailor required me to respond to a First Lady inquiry, a congressional inquiry and was a thorn in my side and the ship’s for almost the entirety of my two-year tour.

Louis Guimond knew how to be and XO and he did it.

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