In mid-May, Naval Sea Systems Command temporarily yanked Thomas, a rear admiral selectee, from his perch atop Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va. A naval inspector general investigation completed Aug. 31 found Thomas’ conduct “went beyond the limits of professional conduct expected of persons in authority.” The firing was made permanent Oct. 25 after Thomas was formally reprimanded for conduct unbecoming an officer.What's surprising to me is that Thomas was selected for flag in the first place. I would be very surprised if all the people on the board (particularly in a community as small as EDOs) didn't know the guy had an "unpleasant personality", and given the risk-averse nature of most Navy senior personnel decisions nowadays, I figure that would have been disqualifying.
The IG interviewed 45 witnesses who served in various leadership positions under Thomas during his nine months as commanding officer of the shipyard. Nine said they were subjected to “demeaning, insulting or profane language or intimidating behavior” privately as well as in public. All names other than Thomas’ were redacted from the report, which was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
An active-duty officer with more than 30 years in uniform told the IG that while some of his interactions with Thomas had been amiable, “There have been times when it rises to the worst experience of my naval career in terms of dealing with a superior who will not listen, who wants to be very vocal and loud, and who just wants to dress [me] down. I don’t know that I’m being treated differently in that case.”
Reading Thomas' biography, I was surprised to see he went EDO right after finishing initial training, but still got assigned to a submarine later on. Normally guys who go ED before getting their dolphins are the ones who develop some disqualifying medical condition during training. However, given that he was probably "assigned" to USS San Juan (SSN 751) in 1988, when I think the boat was in PSA, I could see them giving a medical waiver for a guy to get his ED Dolphins in that situation. However, the fish Thomas is wearing in this photo look real.
Did you ever work for an asshole? I did. And do you think that assholism may be required in some situations? (Maybe like when you're taking over for a CO who was relieved because the command wasn't getting the job done?)
Bell-ringer 1620 16 Nov: Off-topic but still of interest, here's a story by the Michael Melia reporter about the ongoing investigation into cheating on nuclear qual exams.