ADM Mike Mullen and LCDR Syneeda Penland. Some believe that it was Mullen who secretly ordered Penland thrown out of the service.


© 2010 MilitaryCorruption.com

Dear Adm. Mullen,

You failed me. That’s right. You – failed – me. I was one of your naval officers who came to you for help and you turned your back.

To be more specific, when I met you at the event pictured above, I tried to tell you about corruption I’d uncovered; that I was a whistleblower; and that I’d been retaliated against for my efforts.

The plastic smile on your face dissolved, you dropped my hand like a hot tamale, and curtly sputtered “Good luck.”

Your eyes went cold and you looked to the next person in line, hoping you could forget what you’d just been told. My guess is you can’t. Do you even care?

When I write you “failed” me, I refer to the responsibility of a senior commander to show respect for those subordinate to him and to look out for their well-being as much as the commander’s own comfort.

I love the Navy just as much as you, and for more than 19 years, as first an enlisted sailor, and then officer via OCS, I served our country with honor, integrity and pride.

My honor and integrity are intact, but I can’t say I have much “pride” in what our Navy has become.

There are supposed to be rules and regulations, to say nothing of federal law on the books, to protect “whistleblowers” like myself.

Instead of protection, this officer’s warnings and complaints about contractor fraud resulted in my being railroaded into the Brig on a specious conviction for “adultery.”

As you read this, I have been separated from the Navy, lost my pension and benefits a few months shy of qualification, and now am ill and enduring chemotherapy treatments. My only recourse is to obtain what medical care I can at the local VA hospital.

I’ve become a victim of the Navy’s “Good Old Boy” system. By the “inconvenient truth” I tried to bring forward, those who operate in darkness and seek to cheat and defraud the government have banded together to destroy me and make this 38 year-old ex-naval officer an “example” to behold.

Well, my spirit is unbroken. My faith in God firm. I will fight to my final breath for justice in this case.

One of the things that hurts me the most is to see how hypocritical the Navy is when it comes to punishment when the charge is of a sexual nature.

Take for example, the case of Adm. John Stufflebeam, who was found guilty of sexual misconduct, which included liaisons with women, while he stayed at the White House. You see, Stufflebeam was military aide to then-President George H. W. Bush.

“Boomer,” as he is nick-named, a Naval Academy graduate, ended up losing one star off his rank, but he still got to retire on a sizeable pension.

I’m sure you remember LCDR Rebecca Dickinson. Among other duties, she taught “ethics” at the Naval Academy.

An investigation discovered she had been a high-price whore for the “D.C. Madam.”

Dickinson wore a naval officer’s uniform by day, but nothing at all at night, as she turned tricks with foreign diplomats, U.S. officials, high-ranking military officers, and even an editor at the Army TIMES.

She committed adultery, conduct unbecoming an officer, numerous income tax violations, and may have compromised herself to enemy intelligence agents.

And what was her punishment? It depends on who you talk to. Both Navy TIMES and MilitaryCorruption.com – which broke the story in the first place – were told by two different Pentagon public affairs officers that hooker Dickinson had been allowed to retire “in-grade.”

As quick as you can spin on a dime, the Pentagon was back to say the lieut. commander was retired one grade lower, in the rank of lieutenant.

Who’s telling the truth here? I put my trust and faith in MilitaryCorruption.com, as they have no reason to lie, like the Pentagon has.

Dickinson’s crimes were serious indeed, but she was never tossed in the Brig, her pension denied her. For all we know, she may be laughing all the way to the bank.

The third and perhaps most egregious example of a double-standard and lack of (at least so far) justice, the shocking case of Capt. Holly Graf.

Here’s yet another Academy “ring-knocker,” if you will, who media reports depict as a sort of female Captain Bligh,

When you get relieved of command of a United States warship for “cruelty and maltreatment” of your crew; when you endanger the lives of your sailors and another ship drag-racing at sea (coming within 300 feet of collision at 32 knots); when you falsify the ship’s log numerous times; run over a whale without reporting it; spit in a sailor’s face; insult officers of the both the Australian and British Navy; throw coffee cups – ceramic ones – at junior officers’ heads; and even go to the extent of physically assaulting a subordinate officer by choking him with your hands around his neck, why is it Graf’s punishment, other than being relieved of command, practically non-existant?

Will Holly get to keep her rank despite a myriad of crimes and poor performance? Does she collect her fat pension after 25 years of active duty?

The point I’m making is, all during the time you were chief of naval operations (CNO) , and now chairman of the Joint Chiefs, this double-standard of justice has been permitted to occur. Why is that?

Now I have to speak out on an issue I am sure you would rather not face. That is the established fact that despite the date being 2010, an undercurrent of racism in the U.S. Navy exists.

All the examples I’ve cited to you above are of Caucasian officers, male and female.

Being a minority member, a woman of color in what some have called a Navy with deeply ingrained attitudes about race, I feel I would have been treated better if I were not Black. I doubt, if I was the same skin color of Holly Graf, I would have been put in the Brig for “adultery,”

This letter is one last call for help to the most powerful naval officer in America. I ask you to order an investigation – a real one – into my allegations of contractor fraud and the farce that was my court-martial.

I am presently facing financial ruin, my home is in foreclosure, all I have is the V.A. for medical care, and I am fighting for my life against a serious illness.

I want my many friends out there to know I am still alive, and will continue my long, lonely fight for real justice. Thank you for your prayers.

You, Admiral Mullen, have one more chance to make things right. Will you rise to that occasion? I pray you do.


Syneeda Penland
(former LCDR, U.S, Navy)