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RANK HAS ITS "PRIVILEGES"
NAVY CAPTAIN WHO MISSPENT OVER $100,000
GETS "SLAP ON THE WRIST"
RETIRES WITH FULL PENSION


One of the most destructive things in any military unit is the appearance of “special treatment” for ranking officers caught in misconduct.

When the lower ranks perceive that there is a “double-standard” of justice, it eats away at morale and undermines leadership authority.

Such is the case in Hawaii, where a recently-retired Navy captain escaped punishment and got to retire with full pension and benefits after committing an offense that might have resulted in court-martial and the brig for a lowly ensign or petty officer.

The former commanding officer of the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility, (PMRF), Capt. Brian Moss, must have had friends in high places. A Navy Inspector General investigation in 2001 revealed that the high-living Moss misspent over $100,000 of the taxpayers’ money on unauthorized “improvements” to his already palatial quarters in Hawaii.

It seems nothing was too good for this “brass hat” when it came to luxurious living. The IG report disclosed Moss spent more than $177,000 on his home on base and two beach gazebos, using funds that were not authorized or were designated for base operations or enlisted housing.

Congress has set a $20,000 refurbishment limit on officer’s quarters. Moss exceeded that by only $157,000!
“To get around the limit,” the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported, “Moss tapped numerous other officer and enlisted housing funds to be spent on his quarters.”

And the spoiled Capt. Moss doesn’t take a “backseat” to Martha Stewart.

“The expenditures included more than $119,000 for two gazebos that originally were estimated to cost $15,000,” KHON-TV, which filed a Freedom of Information Act Request, reported.

According to the heavily redacted document, Moss squandered more than $13,000 for carpeting, including $2,700 to fly it in from the mainland. You see - the coddled captain didn’t want any carpet offered in Hawaiian stores. Why use “cheaper” stuff when you can “stick it” to the taxpayers?

But that’s not all. Moss didn’t like the “off-white paint” used to do the interior of the home and ordered it repainted in “bright white.” The bill for that extravagance was $9,500!

The fussy captain then ran up an $11,200 tab to build a turnaround in the commander’s driveway with a flagpole and garden as its centerpiece.

But that wasn’t the end of Moss’s waste. He allegedly took care of old cronies when he increased the “consulting” budget for the missile range from $508,000 to over $2 million in one year!

The inspector general’s report concluded Moss “took money earmarked for other projects” to refurbish his government quarters and then brought in numerous high-ranking civilian government employees as consultants to “perform work other than what they were sent to do.”

So ingrained is the “let them (enlisted and lower-ranking officers) eat cake” mentality, that nothing would have been done about the wild spending if a former PMRF worker had not contacted the IG. Knowing they couldn’t sweep such a big mess completely under the rug, the IG spent a year on the investigation. And when the report was finalized in April 2001, the Navy hoped to hush up the whole thing.

No such luck. KHON-TV filed the Freedom of Information Act request and the facts finally saw the light of day. That is, only the facts that the Navy decided to release. Isn’t it curious that the most heavily redacted sections of the report are Moss’s comments in interviews, and even more importantly, the investigator’s recommendations?

We taxpayers mustn’t see that, or we’d know what a soft “slap on the wrist” the Navy captain received.

In an effort at “spin control” Navy spokesperson Lt. Cdr. Jane Campbell declared, “very appropriate and effective disciplinary actions were taken.” Oh, REALLY?

Then why wasn’t Moss relieved of command immediately? No one has seen the so-called “letter of reprimand” Moss supposedly received. And there is no record of any fine or reduction in pay for the high-living captain who got away with what would have ruined a lower-ranking officer or enlisted man’s career.

Instead of being relieved of command, Moss was to stay in his job for more than a year after the IG report was released. And he retired with his fat pension. Capt. Moss undoubtedly is relieved he got away with what others might have paid heavily for. But then he isn’t surprised. In the U.S. Navy, “rank has its privileges.”

 



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