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Sea Stories: Murder Aboard Ship


Gunboat1
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Sea Stories: Murder Aboard Ship

 

Like any other group of people, Navy sailors are a cross section of our society.  And occasionally, people do horrific things to each other.  It is our nature as a species, and we all would do well to remember it.  Never underestimate the capacity of your fellow man for depraved violent behavior.   As someone wisely once said:  “Be nice to everyone you meet.  But have a backup plan to kill them if things don’t go well.”  These are words to live by.

I am aware of at least two documented murders which took place aboard Navy ships in the 1980s.  There were several other “suicides” by jumping overboard at night in cold waters which may or may not have actually been murders, but “dead men tell no tales” and the bodies were never recovered.

One of these murders took place aboard a Spruance-class destroyer, in port.  It was late evening, after a cash payday aboard the ship.  The Disbursing Officer was working late in his office, balancing his accounting books and counting the leftover cash prior to returning it to the bank the next day.  The Sounding and Security watch reported to the quarterdeck that they had found the Disbursing Office open, with the safe open and the Disbursing Officer nowhere to be found.  After attempts to locate the officer failed, it began to look like he might have absconded with the money.  But his car was still in the parking lot near the pier.  A search of the ship discovered the officer’s body, shot to death in a closed fan room in the after part of the ship.   Not long after, an observant bank officer was auditing the contents of safe deposit boxes in the care of his bank, and noticed that numerous blank US Government checks were stored in one box.  He called the authorities, and an investigation showed that these checks’ serial numbers had been assigned to the ship in question.  They had been stolen from the safe during the robbery.  The holder of the safe deposit box was a petty officer assigned to the ship.  He eventually admitted to having brought a personally owned firearm aboard, and having used it to take the Disbursing Officer at gunpoint, order him into the fan room, and then to execute him there. 

The other case was even more senseless.  A classmate of mine was directly involved, and was best friends with the victim.  His ship, an aging steam-powered Guided Missile Destroyer, was operating at sea.  One of the Engineering Department’s junior enlisted sailors, a young African American, was not performing well, and the Chief Engineer (who was White), as his department head, had informed him that he would not be recommended for advancement in the upcoming examination cycle.  The sailor took exception to this and claimed that this was evidence of racial discrimination against him.    He concealed a Kabar combat knife in his coveralls, and found the Chief Engineer in the stifling and noisy Forward Fireroom, alone in a firing alley between two operating boilers.   He stabbed the officer in the chest and left him to die.  The Chief Engineer was able to crawl to an escape trunk and make his way up a vertical ladder, through an escape hatch and onto the main deck of the ship.  He was seen there and several sailors responded to try and save him.  He bled to death on deck in my classmate’s arms, but only after gasping out the name of his murderer.  A subsequent search of the killer’s locker found the bloody knife, wrapped in his bloodstained coveralls.

It pays to remain aware at all times.

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Horrible in both cases. Neither one of the murderers sound very bright.

Having known some of what military members do from being a Navy Brat I never did buy into that BS that all members are great people. There was one case of murder in Rota while I was there. A young lady named Jeannie showed up to the squadron and checked in with the SDO and never mentioned to anyone that she was pregnant. She had her baby and threw the child into a dumpster to die. :angryfire:

Fortunately most of our people are much better than that. I met a Jewish girl from Georgia who arrived at the squadron maybe 8 months after I did. Her dad was an Orthodox Rabbi and she was too ashamed to tell him or her mother that she was pregnant w/o being married. So she adopted the baby out, most likely to be raised Catholic. I liked her. Having not known any Jewish people before I enlisted when she brought it up I had some questions about her faith and we had some pretty good discussions. Her baby is probably just turned 41 plus or minus a couple of months and growing up as a Spaniard he or she had pretty good odds of having a good life. If that no longer young lady has had any regrets she at least can know that some couple was probably very happy to have that child and that child has probably done just fine. 

 

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Nice.  My dad was in the navy for a bit and told me they had a couple guys take another guy and put his head in a vise and then torment his rear with a broom handle.  It was determined who they were and they ended up falling off the ship at night on the port side but for some reason the other side was called out so the ship turned the wrong way and they went into the prop.  The ship was saddened but carried on.....

I don't know how much of that is true but I like the concept and can believe there may be instances of sea justice so I choose to believe it for now.

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