Admiral Boorda's 'InBasket'
A listing of some controversies, scandals and morale issues confronting
Chief of Naval Operations Jeremy Mike Boorda in the weeks leading up to his May
1. Allegations of improper management and wrongful privileges at the Norfolk
Naval Exchange involving senior Navy and Marine Corps officers.
2. James Webb's April 1996 speech at the Naval Academy, saying the navy
was "struggling for its soul" and accusing Navy leaders of "disloyalty" to the
service because they seek to "curry favor with politicians."
3. An anonymous May 20,1996 letter to Navy Times written by an
officer alleging Boorda had lost the respect of senior officers.
4. Backbiting by Navy aviators who were upset about the havoc that Tailhook
had wreaked on careers - in particular, the careers of esteemed officers such
as Admiral Jack Snyder and Admiral Stanley Arthur.
5. The continuing controversy over F-18 procurement. Only a few weeks before
Boorda's death, the Justice Department had opened a criminal investigation
into alleged false testing and improper billing in one phase of in the F-18 jet
fighter program at Northrop Grumman Corp.
The Navy is spending $3.2 billion to develop a new version of the F-18, known
as the Super Hornet. The top-priority program could lead to the procurement
of more than 1000 Super Hornets to replace aging fighter jets on aircraft
6. Cheating scandals, drug charges and other headaches at the Naval Academy.
The month before Boorda's death, five midshipmen and four former students were
accused of crimes ranging from car theft to molesting a child. The scandal
revived charges of a deep-seated moral crisis at Annapolis. Three years
earlier, a widespread cheating scandal at Annapolis was exposed and more
recently (fall of 1995), drug charges were brought against 24 midshipmen.
7. Newsweek's investigation of Boorda's two "V" decorations--tiny
bronze pins which signify valor in combat. Although Boorda had worn the pins
for years, he had not actually been awarded the decorations.