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Old Navy, New Navy
Two people whose lives and careers came
to symbolize the politics and troubles of the post-Tailhook Navy

  • Admiral Stanley Arthur
    A war hero, Arthur was the second highest ranking Naval officer -Vice-Chief of Naval Operations. In Vietnam he flew over five hundred missions and in the Gulf War he commanded all U.S. naval forces. Over his career Arthur won eleven Distinguished Service Crosses. In the post-Tailhook turmoil, Admiral Arthur became a political lightening rod. Arthur upheld the Navy's decision to flunk Lt. Rebecca Hansen out of flight training school and because of that case, his nomination to CinC-PAC (Chief of all American forces in the Pacific) was put on 'hold' by Senator Durenberger. The Navy leadership decided not to fight for Arthur's promotion and he resigned from the Navy in 1995.

  • Commander Robert E. Stumpf
    Stumpf was an outstanding fighter pilot. He was commander of the Navy's elite show team, The Blue Angels, and the movie "Top Gun" drew its inspiration from an actual incident when Stumpf was flying over Libya. During the Gulf War Stumpf flew twenty-two combat missions and won the Distinguished Flying Cross. When his squadron was selected the best F-18 force, Stumpf went to Tailhook '91 to accept the honor. At the convention, he attended a party where an exotic dancer stripped. Later she performed a lewd act while Stumpf says he was out of the room. Although a court of inquiry acquitted Stumpf of wrongdoing, his career was scuttled by Tailhook. Stumpf had been 'flagged'-- a new procedure implemented by the Senate Armed Services Committee in which promotions of officers who were at Tailhook (or whose subordinates were) received special scrutiny. The Senate committee asked the Secretary of the Navy to deny Stumpf's promotion to captain. Just before his suicide the Navy's top officer, CNO Mike Boorda, vowed he would fight for Stumpf. In the end Stumpf never got his promotion and resigned from the Navy in October 1996.

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