THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
WASHINGTON. D. C. 20350-1000
29 October 1991
Captain F. G. Ludwig, Jr.
Post office Box 40
Bonita, California 919006-0040
Dear Captain Ludwig,
I am writing to you, and through you to your organization, to express my
absolute outrage over the conduct reported to have taken place at the Tailhook
Association symposium in September as expressed in your letter of 11 October, a
copy of which was provided me yesterday.
Besides my anger, I am more than personally disappointed. The Tailhook
Association has been, in the past, a source of great professionalism and esprit, an
organization where productive dialogues and seminars have had a home. In
particular, Tailh00k '91 provided me with a superb forum to air some of the most
serious issues that Naval Aviation has ever faced. But none of those attributes can
make up for the personal abuses, behavioral excesses, and quite possibly criminal
conduct that took place at Tailhook '91 and have now been reported to me.
There are certain categories of behavior and attitudes that I unequivocally
will wt tolerate. You know the phrase: "Not in my Navy, not on my watch.'
Tailhook '91 is a gross example of exactly what cannot be permitted by the civilian or
uniformed leadership of the Navy, at any level. No man who holds a commission
in this Navy will ever subject a woman to the kind of abuse in evidence at Tailhook
'91 with impunity. And no organization which makes possible this behavior is in
any way worthy of a naval leadership or advisory role.
Admiral Frank Kelso, our Chief of Naval Operations, and I
have discussed this matter and, based upon his recommendation and
with his full support" I am terminating, effective immediately, all Navy support in
any manner whatsoever, direct or indirect, for the Tailhook Association.
Last April I sent a message to every command in the Navy about the progress of our
women officers and sailors. I said then that I would reinforce a position of zero
tolerance of sexual harassment, and I meant it. That policy was not new in April,
nor when I became Secretary-but obviously it was as necessary then as it is now to
reiterate just how strongly I feel about this matter. Also in April, with my strong
concurrence, Admiral Kelso made specifically dear in a parallel message that a Navy
free from sexual harassment or intimidation is a leadership issue. Together we
made certain that the whole Navy knew: "Each of you, from the most junior sailor
to the most senior officer, has a responsibility to build working and living spaces
free from unprofessional conduct fear, and prejudice." The Tailhook Association
most certainly did not live up to that responsibility.
Very Truly Yours,
H. Lawrence Garrett, III
Secretaryof the Navy
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