VADM John Disher got the job as Chief of Naval Education and Training Command (CNET) after Airman Recruit (AR) Lee Mirecki, 19, of Appleton, Wisconsin, was drowned by Navy swim instructors at the Rescue Swimmer School, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.
AR Mirecki had difficulty with a swimming drill, and clearly requested to be dropped from the course. The Navy calls it “Drop On Request” (DOR). Generally, anytime a student says, “DOR,” Everything must immediately stop and go to time-out. During that “time-out” period, if the student stands by his request to drop from the program, then he/she is released from any further training and reassigned to other duty.
Airman Recruit Lee Mirecki pleaded to be dropped from the rescue swimmer training course. He felt that he just couldn’t take anymore of the hazing. Instead of honoring Mirecki’s request to DOR as they should have done, Navy swim instructors seized Mirecki and forced him back into the water. They began “smurfing” him (holding him under the water) until he finally lost consciousness.
While this horrific hazing was occurring, all other recruits standing on the pool deck were commanded to line up, turn their backs and sing the national anthem. One surmises the reason for that order was to reduce the number of witnesses if something should happen. Something did happen. Mirecki died from a heart arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation, secondary to hypoxia, consistent with a death by drowning.
Details of Mirecki’s death were splattered in newspaper headlines across the nation forcing VADM N.R. Thunman to turn over his job as Chief of Naval Education and Training (CNET) to VADM John S. Disher. The initial reaction of the Navy was to make no comment and circle the wagons until everyone got their story straight. VADM Thunman repeatedly denied the Navy was trying to hide anything and insisted the death was under investigation from the beginning.
About two years after assuming the job of CNET, VADM Disher, a slew of rapes and sexual assaults were occurring at the Navy’s training center in Orlando, Florida. After the rape and sexual assault scandals broke, the Navy decided NOT to prosecute in six different rape cases.
Disher, characterized the rapes and assaults at the Florida training center as occurring “throughout the entire Navy” and said “much more must be done to remedy the shortcomings.” Multiple women were raped, and Disher referred to the rapes as mere “shortcomings.” There was no evidence that he, or any other naval commander did anything to curtail these so-called “shortcomings” in the United States Navy. Six rapists were pretty much given a pass.
SPENDING LIKE A DRUNKEN SAILOR
Hollywood actor Robert Conrad was scheduled to be a guest speaker at a function at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. He was best known for his role in the 1965–69 television series The Wild Wild West, playing the sophisticated Secret Service agent James T. West. He also portrayed World War II ace Pappy Boyington in the television series Baa Baa Black Sheep.
VADM Disher was so excited about having the opportunity of meeting a real, live movie star, that he personally saw to virtually every aspect of his arrival and lodging. The “Dish” wanted Conrad to stay on the base but in Disher’s mind, nothing on the base was adequate for the stature of a famous movie star. The admiral ordered three of the ground-floor units in the bachelor officer’s quarters (BOQ) to be consolidated and completely renovated for his movie-star guest. A plaque on the door calls it the “Corpus Christi Suite.”
Once the walls were knocked down to make a much larger and comfy living quarters, Admiral Disher grabbed his wife and headed down to the local J.S. Penny Department store in Corpus Christi, Texas with a government credit card burning holes in his pocket.
Admiral and Mrs. Disher were spending taxpayer money like drunken sailors. Here is a partial LIST of what they purchased just to impress movie and TV star Robert Conrad. Conrad had Vice Admiral Disher and his audience swooning in the isles. After his departure the next day, the newly renovated million dollar BOQ room, the “Corpus Christi Suite,” sat largely dormant.
The suite was only to be used every now and then by visiting dignitaries or senior-ranking officers who got too drunk at the officer’s club across the street and wanted a place to play “hide the salami” with a woman they picked up at the bar. After all, you couldn’t take a drunk, horny woman home. What would your wife say? The “Corpus Christi Suite” became the perfect hide-away for philandering naval officers.
CHAUFFEURING THE ADMIRAL’S FAMILY – COURTESY OF THE NAVY
One of the first female aviators in the Navy was making her way through the Navy’s flight school was Ensign Rhonda Buckner. Ens Buckner had gotten to the point where she was ready for her cross-country flight. Normally, young Navy student pilots get to pick where they want to fly and demonstrate their knowledge of flight planning and working with air route traffic control centers along the way.
Ensign Rhonda Buckner was in the latter part of her training flying a Beechcraft twin-engine turbo prop trainer. The aircraft was designed to give students an opportunity to fly a more complex aircraft with non-center-line thrust.
Unfortunately, she was not given the luxury to pick her desired destination. Her flight instructor told her she would be taking VADM John S. Disher to San Diego and to plan the flight accordingly. While disappointed in not being able to select her destination, she felt pretty important to be carting around a Navy vice admiral for “important government business.
So excited was she, that Rhonda hardly slept the night before and got out to the aircraft early to start her preflight procedures. They were all set to go when she saw people walking towards the aircraft. Where was Admiral Disher? This is when Buckner began to get an education that rank had its privileges. The people who showed up for the flight was Lt. John S. Disher, Jr. and his wife. They wanted to get a free trip courtesy of the Navy to attend a family wedding in San Diego and pawn off the trip and a “training flight” thereby hitting two birds with one stone.
Ensign Rhonda Buckner did her stint in the Navy then went on to fly for a major airline. It always stuck in her craw of how she was duped and taxpayer money was used to provide Vice Admiral Disher’s family with free airline service. One one level it could be construed as fraud and misappropriation, on another level it’s a none-starter because Ens. Buckner needed a cross-country flight to finish up her training.
AS HE DUBIOUSLY SPENT THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS,
ADMIRAL DISHER DESTROYED OTHERS WHO HAD DONE FAR LESS
Ironically, while all this was going on (and a whole lot more), Vice Admiral Disher convened a general court-martial against a young lieutenant pilot from the naval reserve base at NAS Dallas, Texas. The lieutenant was arrested and ordered to stand trial for one count of fraternizing, and one count of improperly submitting a travel claim from three years prior.
The $75.51 of a travel claim, which was never paid to the lieutenant and submitted three years prior at another command was declared as “fraudulent.” The co-pilot who was charged with the same “crime” was given a non-punitive letter of reprimand and ordered back to work. The lieutenant was ordered to stand trial at a general court-martial.
The lieutenant was part of only a handful of pilots in the Navy qualified in both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. On top of his military achievements, he was also dual rated by the FAA possessing an Airline Transport Pilot’s license in muti-engine, fixed wing aircraft and a commercial with instrument rating in rotary wing aircraft. The lieutenant had a perfect safety record and thousands of flight hours of experience.
The young lieutenant and navy flyer was convicted of fraternizing (having a date), submitting a travel claim for $75.51, and dishonorably discharged from the naval service. A single count of fraternization is considered a felony conviction. Vice Admiral Disher approved the sentence, and all appeals were denied.
The young lieutenant could not use his aviation skills in the civilian sector, because the insurance companies would not allow commercial air carriers to put a convicted felon in the cockpit of a passenger jet. In addition, the veteran’s administration denied all benefits to the lieutenant because of his dishonorable discharge.
Vice Admiral Disher wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars and converts military aircraft into his own personal airlines then destroys a young lieutenant over a $75 travel claim he never received any money for, and a date with an enlisted woman in the reserves. At the very least, Vice Admiral John Disher was a classic hypocrite.