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Old 03-08-2010, 10:29 PM   #21
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Her new command, a submarine.




The Rise and Fall of a Female Captain Bligh

By Mark Thompson / Washington Wednesday, Mar. 03, 2010






Holly Graf: Navy Relieves Harsh Commander of USS Cowpens - TIME

Talk about the boss from Hell, wow. I guess it is harder to frag officers in the navy!
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:10 AM   #22
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My goodness, she cursed in the military?
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According to 29 of the 36 crew members who were questioned for the Navy's report, Graf repeatedly dropped F bombs on them. "Take your goddam attitude and shove it up your f______ ass and leave it there,"
I guess it's how you say it rather than how you mean it, because I met many a Staff NCO in the Marine Corps who could drop half a dozen f-bombs in a sentence while asking you to come over and meet his little sister, 'cause you're just that great a guy. Or maybe it's a service-centric thing? I got paid a sincere compliment by a Gunnery Sergeant once in which he dropped 12 f-bombs. It made me snicker a little because I had to admit I had never heard the term "Bugf*%k" before. "Hell Lance Corporal, this is the Marine Corps, if you don't say f*$k every other word nobody will understand you."

So, what's up with the Navy? Google "Navy Commander Relieved" and Holly Graf just seems to be the most recent of quite a few in the past two-three years. Some of the incidents would make one think that such serious character flaws would have come to light, and dealt with, much earlier. Similar searches involving other services return a few, but nothing like the navy. There seems to be some clustering going on here. Does the Navy just kill their young in a more public way or is there something systemic here?

Another interesting article about Captain Graf here: http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...970226,00.html

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After more than a month on Graf's ship, Kaprow left for the carrier U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt to tell Graf's superior what he had witnessed. He was the second senior officer from the ship to complain to superiors about Graf. "I told all of this to the commodore," Kaprow said, "but I don't know what happened to it from there." Back on the Churchill, officers who knew that Kaprow was meeting with the commodore waited anxiously for a change in the Churchill's command climate. It never came..."Certain people in the Navy are preselected for command, and no matter what happens, the Navy will make sure that it happens," he said.
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:56 AM   #23
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My goodness, she cursed in the military?
So, what's up with the Navy? Google "Navy Commander Relieved" and Holly Graf just seems to be the most recent of quite a few in the past two-three years. Some of the incidents would make one think that such serious character flaws would have come to light, and dealt with, much earlier. Similar searches involving other services return a few, but nothing like the navy. There seems to be some clustering going on here. Does the Navy just kill their young in a more public way or is there something systemic here?
Apparently no one worries about officer abuse, but you know she shouldn't have messed with the Master Chief.

CO reliefs aren't that unusual, but this one is. The surface warfare community does have a reputation for eating their young (junior officers) and for shotgun blasts to the face, so a CO being relieved for that reason is even more surprising. Here's some opinions I posted at another board:
Quote:
What's unusual is that she wasn't relieved for running aground or for a DUI or for inappropriate sexual behavior or for being incompetent or for otherwise scaring the heck out of her bosses. Those "relieved for cause" incidents happen two or three times a year, particularly in Seventh Fleet where ships are worked to their limits (and beyond). It happens to all kinds of COs-- men and women. Oh, the stories.

No, Holly's offense was... being a screamer.

Screamers aren't that uncommon in the Navy, and even 10 years ago there would have been an wardroom uproar over getting relieved just for yelling at people. That's not assault, it's [s]swearing like a sailor[/s] direct & forceful goal-oriented leadership! She would've been admired for her guts, to say nothing of her verbal creativity, and groomed for flag rank. Nobody used to do anything about it-- they tolerated it or worked around it, and the casualties were considered just part of the cost of [s]culling the herd weeding out the weak[/s] doing business. "Challenged to perform" or "personality conflicts" or "just couldn't hack the pressure" were blamed on the afflicted, not the inflicter. I owe my 1989 Hawaii transfer to being the only sucker officer left in the pipeline who could, let alone who was willing, take over for yet another department head. He'd started coughing blood after a few months on the job because his screamer CO was getting on his nerves.

From the scuttlebutt I'm reading these days on no-holds-barred Navy discussion boards like SailorBob.com, it's even more encouraging to note that hardly anyone even cares she's a woman. Sure, this engenders (so to speak) commentary on whether the traditional designation of "@sshole" is also deemed appropriate for a woman in command, or if the word "b!tch" could be considered [s]strong enough[/s] misogynist. But that's just a minor semantic distraction, and there aren't even any jokes about emotional hysteria or hormones. What also encourages me is that officers (and the enlisted ranks) are being very clear that this is not about male or female-- this is about behavior. After more than 35 years, the Navy is finally accustomed to women at sea and in command. It's about time.

No, what's impressing me is that the Inspector General staff was actually told to get their butts on a plane and fly all the way out there to do an investigation. This wasn't just a squadron commodore or a battlegroup admiral or even a C7F flag officer pulling her aside and saying "Um, hey, you've made your reputation, the flag selection board is impressed, now just tone it down a little, couldya?" This wasn't typical flag backstabbing or O-6 resentment at yet another cruiser CO being one of the chosen. This wasn't a boss saying "I don't have the guts or the support to fire one of my own COs, could you send the IG over here to [s]do my job for me[/s] lend a hand?" It wasn't even her crew sabotaging her by letting her fall on her sword when they could have stepped in to keep the ship out of trouble. That's a very common factor in collisions & groundings.

This is about junior officers (and a few midgrade officers) and hundreds of enlisted telling their assignment officers why they won't go to that ship and why they won't stay there. This is about dozens of them voting with their feet. It's about a new generation saying that this "traditional" hard-charging Navy behavior is no more appropriate today than public drinking & whoring used to be appropriate in my day or drugs in the '60s-'70s or shipboard inebriation even earlier in this century. This is about deckplate leadership setting a higher performance standard than their alleged leaders, and saying that their generation is not going to behave that way or accept the behavior of those appointed over them.

I bet Graf's entire supervisory chain of command were a little shocked to get the IG phone call and to eventually understand that this was a "big deal". And they realized that they couldn't intervene or protect her, so they stepped smartly back to leave her swingin' in the wind. Heck, one or two of them were probably afraid that they were going to be relieved for contributing to (let alone tolerating) the problem. I bet they're still a little surprised to be told that they shouldn't have let it get to this point. I'd love to read some of the fitness reports that are being written on the squadron, battelgroup, and fleet staffs around this issue. I'd pay serious money to get the bootleg recordings from the annual all-flag-officer conference.

Five years from now this could easily be one of the ships that our daughter's assigned to. It looks like it's finally getting safe to go to sea!
Another poster mentioned that none of Graf's officer siblings seem to have stepped in to help, either.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:48 AM   #24
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While in the service, never minded the the expletive laden guidance and direction form those further up the food chain, so long as we were confident that they had our backs when $hit hit thee fan.

If it was discovered that their bluster was for self aggrandizement and stepping on team members bodies to look good and get ahead, things got sorted out real quick.

In civil empl*yment I did not tolerate berating by any boss at any time. The few times it happened, they ended up apologizing profusely after enlightening them of the errors of their ways. If their life is not on the line along with mine, they better be polite.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:55 AM   #25
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Nords, Can she come down under with you ?


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Old 03-09-2010, 11:58 AM   #26
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... and I'm surprised that it stayed professional for as long as it did.
No joking on this thread; it's OK on others.
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:10 PM   #27
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You know, as a female officer, I'm a bit conflicted on this topic. After being a squadron commander and seeing the *stooopid* behavior that can occur even on land, I'd find it difficult to justify sticking both genders in a severely enclosed space for long periods of time. Being the commander of that situation would possibly drive one crazy. However, as a woman, I also don't want certain opportunities to be denied me because of a different letter second chromosone.

My rules of thumb - don't get intimately involved with anyone on the ship or sub. Restraint is important as a female minority in the military. If you do get involved, hopefully pick someone with extreme discretion....hard to find, in my experience. It is amazing the amount of voyeurism exhibited by the single and married military personnel regarding people's personal and sex lives. That's one of the aspect of the military culture I hate....being a Reservist gives me a different perspective, but when wearing the uniform, I must take on the mantra of the military corporate culture. As a female engineer, I've always known I would have to be that much better in everything in order to be thought competent and competitive - that's the price one pays for being in the minority. Same thing for the military - you must try to hold yourself to a higher standard as much as possible.

Regarding the CO who was relieved - to me, if you have to scream or rely on your rank to get something done, you've failed as a leader. You want the personnel to respect you and your vision for them and follow based on that respect - not just because they 'fear' you. Also, as the commanding officer, I thought that the bad guy was your First Sergeant or Chief - they allowed you as the commander to be the 'good guy.' As for your officers, your actions speak louder than your screaming - i.e. mediocre letters of recommendation, performance reports, or denial of other opportunities for advancement. You can 'speak loudly' that way, without the screaming atmosphere. Perhaps it is a good thing she was relieved - she needs to be setting a good example and frankly, that type of behavior would not be tolerated in most civilian organizations. If she wished to have a follow-on career, she will need to temper her approach.

OK - off the soapbox.
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:43 PM   #28
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Another poster mentioned that none of Graf's officer siblings seem to have stepped in to help, either.
I have heard stories conflicting with this statement. (Her sister, a VADML, is about to be my boss next month, so I admit to only having heard rumors about her retaining her next assignment in DC.)

The use of profanity is not the issue - it is the berating style she has used for years. (As a sailor, I do cuss like one upon occasion, but choose not to berate and humiliate my sailors - because as Deserat has mentioned, that means I have failed as a leader!) A USNR CDR and I were discussing CAPT Graff over the weekend - he was stationed with her back when she was a LT, and she was a younger version of the stories we are reading today.
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Old 03-09-2010, 01:45 PM   #29
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It took me a couple days to find it again but this article appears to belong in this conversation:

Neither Men Nor Mice

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LAST fall, while working with corporate women across various industries, job levels and generations, an age-old issue re-emerged at a near-fever pitch. Women were obsessed about being labeled a “bitch,” and to a degree I hadn’t seen since the 1990s.

As one woman put it, “Even in this day and age, a guy barks out an order and he is treated like someone who is in charge and a leader. But when a woman communicates in the exact same way, she’s immediately labeled assertive, dominating, aggressive and overbearing.”
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:16 PM   #30
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.... back when she was a LT, and she was a younger version of the stories we are reading today.
Hmmm, shame on her previous commanders - they should have nipped that in the bud, i.e. mentored her better so that she might temper her communication approach (demeaning and screaming) and become a better person and leader. Or, she didn't listen....and was still promoted. Well, it looks like that has now stopped.

"As one woman put it, “Even in this day and age, a guy barks out an order and he is treated like someone who is in charge and a leader. But when a woman communicates in the exact same way, she’s immediately labeled assertive, dominating, aggressive and overbearing.”"

Yup - you still need to hold yourself to a higher standard....or go start your own business and set your own culture and rules.....however, demeaning people and screaming are 99.9% of the time not called for. Actions speak much louder than words--i.e. as said before, letters of recommendation, assignments, etc. As for the victim of the crappy communication style, getting out is the best thing - the stress is not worth it. This goes to Nords other thread about PHB becoming a fixation and describing what perhaps may be an unbalanced life such that PHB's behavior affects your outlook.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:33 AM   #31
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I have heard stories conflicting with this statement. (Her sister, a VADML, is about to be my boss next month, so I admit to only having heard rumors about her retaining her next assignment in DC.)
A USNR CDR and I were discussing CAPT Graff over the weekend - he was stationed with her back when she was a LT, and she was a younger version of the stories we are reading today.
I haven't figured out whether DC duty is "praise" or "punishment". I'd think a CO relieved for this sort of incident would be subject to a lot of Beltway scrutiny and generally ridiculed.

By all the indicators on her DD-214, she's had a successful 25-year career and would be leaving at the top of her game in her late 40s with a $67K/year COLA'd pension and full healthcare. But I doubt she cares about any of that.

When I was at COMSUBPAC staff, another Graf presided as CO over an absolute disaster of an Arctic deployment. Admittedly those are challenging and not always damage-free but the other COs with Arctic experience pointed out his leadership mistakes. He's quite a bit older than this Graf, though, so probably not a close relative.

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Being the commander of that situation would possibly drive one crazy.
My rules of thumb - don't get intimately involved with anyone on the ship or sub. Restraint is important as a female minority in the military.
The shorthand reference is "An officer and a babysitter."

IIRC policy is that if you share the same CO, then no dating. I don't know whether that's Navy-wide or just the policy of individual COs but it makes it pretty clear what the rules are and makes any offenses punishable via UCMJ and Captain's Mast.

And, yeah, we had the same policy in the submarine force.

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Hmmm, shame on her previous commanders - they should have nipped that in the bud, i.e. mentored her better so that she might temper her communication approach (demeaning and screaming) and become a better person and leader. Or, she didn't listen....and was still promoted. Well, it looks like that has now stopped.
I served with a couple guys who were little screamers working their way up to big screamers. Each seemed lost without a conflict to focus his attention, so if things were running smoothly then they'd go out and create a conflict. Even the other submariners thought that they had problems, but again by all BUPERS indicators they completed successful careers that wouldn't raise an eyebrow on a résumé.

The biggest problem with being a screamer is that you get exactly what you ask for but nothing more. People will do as directly ordered but won't show any initiative or motivation, let alone ask the "What if?" questions that avoid collisions & groundings. It took too long and it became a more spectacular flameout, but eventually she alienated enough people to get herself fired. I think her behavior example will last at least a decade, and that's only going to make things better!
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:29 AM   #32
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When I was at COMSUBPAC staff, another Graf presided as CO over an absolute disaster of an Arctic deployment. Admittedly those are challenging and not always damage-free but the other COs with Arctic experience pointed out his leadership mistakes. He's quite a bit older than this Graf, though, so probably not a close relative.
The Time article said her dad is a retired Captain, and I playing with that info I came across these comments who identified himself as a Cowpens plank owner who served under Graf:
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As to the person who commented about giving Graf respect since she has served her country for almost 30 years – she gets what she gives. Anyone remember her parents’ visit to the WSC while we were in Gibraltar? Remember the passdown that her father, a retired Navy Captain, was NOT to be given honors when arriving or departing the ship? Screw that. He retired – with honor – as a Navy Captain. He earned those honors – something she most definitely has not earned. Needless to say, as OOD I gave him honors when I was on watch – she came screaming out of the hanger bay “Who in the f---…” saw me, stopped, said “never mind”, and went back to finish getting ready to go out with them for the evening.
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:38 AM   #33
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I lost track of the submariner Graf after he left command, but I'm pretty sure the admiral took a personal interest in ensuring he got the FITREP guaranteed to keep him at O-5...
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:59 AM   #34
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The issue I have is with the physical fitness standards. Admittantly, I was in the Army, so I don't know much about the Navy physical fitness standards. But the Army had two sets of standards. One for the males, one for the females.

My position was always that we should have 1 set of standards, whoever meets them can do the job (combat positions were the hot topic).

Does the Navy have two sets of physical fitness standards?
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:09 PM   #35
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Yes, there are still male & female requirements in the USN/R, and it changes with age.

I agree - there should just be one set of standards.
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:24 PM   #36
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Yes, there are still male & female requirements in the USN/R, and it changes with age.
I agree - there should just be one set of standards.
When our kid was training for the taekwondo black belt test, her cousin (the Army Ranger) told her that 100 pushups/2 minutes and 100 situps/2 minutes would max out the Army's male teenager standards...

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Maybe I'm a little slow on the uptake-- did I miss an announcement?
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:35 PM   #37
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Maybe I'm a little slow on the uptake-- did I miss an announcement?
I asked for it to be changed...No need to spend 5 extra years w*orking! 10 more yrs of AD will have me probably at O4...with 32 years of service...not a bad deal. The state pens will replace what I thought would be my USNR pens at age 60. (basically just flipped them)
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:48 PM   #38
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Don't forget running the 2 mile run in under 13 minutes, that will max out the teenager PT test. Maybe its 12 minutes something.

I was always an 8 minute miler. Too big to run.
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:24 PM   #39
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In case you've been laying awake at night wondering about the submarine force's plans, it's official:
Ban on Women on Subs Lifted

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May 01, 2010
The U.S. military's ban on women serving on submarines passed quietly into history.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates notified lawmakers in mid-February that the Navy would be lifting the ban, unless Congress took some action against it. And Navy spokesman Lt. Justin Cole said Thursday morning that the deadline for Congress to act passed at midnight.
...
The Navy plans to start by assigning three female officers each in eight different crews of guided-missile attack submarines and ballistic missile submarines. That involves two submarines on the east coast and two on the west coast. Officials said that since more living space is available aboard those subs, it won't require modification to the vessels, allowing the Navy to move faster to include women.
The female officers would be assigned after completing the 15-month submarine officer training pipeline, which consists of nuclear power school, prototype training, and a submarine officer basic course. The first subs to get women each have about 15 officers and roughly 140 enlisted personnel.
Women make up 15 percent of the active duty Navy - there are 52,446 out of the force of 330,700.
I can't tell the whole plan from the article, but I sure hope they're expecting to include a crowd of chief petty officers and senior enlisted as well. USNA learned early on that scattering just a few women per company was a recipe for attritional disaster.

The "Today" show sent Ann Curry to sea overnight on the USS MARYLAND, which seemed to go OK. Their segment pointed out that over half of today's engineering & science degrees are awarded to women.

Our 17-year-old daughter, who could be starting nuclear power school in June 2014 if she keeps her grades up, still insists she'd rather drive destroyers in Japan or pour concrete in the sandbox than absorb Navy neutrons. I told her that today's ensigns get $230/month submarine pay (on top of $2745/month base pay) and that O-3s with over five years of service are eligible to sign a $25,000/year bonus contract (on top of their $73K/year base pay)... and that made her eyes bug out.

Luckily she still has four years to think it over.
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