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Navy Times, Springfield, VA, 2 July 2001
Newslines: The Navy
Five charged, more implicated in scandal at Oceana ordnance unit
By William H. McMichael
NORFOLK, Va. -- There was something fishy about the two large-block boat engines resting on a pallet at the Portsmouth Boating Center, a civilian marina.
These weren't the typical engines one could buy on the open market. Nor was the wiring.
...the engines were most recently excess military property stored at the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service Office yard in Chesapeake, Va. The paper trail led to an aviation ordnance detachment at Oceana Naval Air Station -- a unit with no discernible need for boat engines.
This, investigators charge, was just the tip of the iceberg.
About seven months later, a package of disturbing photos arrived at the detachment's parent command at Yorktown Naval Weapons Station. They showed a sailor from the detachment hanging upside down from a tree with his feet tied together, surrounded by several members of the unit, all laughing. The photos led to an internal investigation that revealed a pattern of abusive behavior at the unit [...]
The twin investigations paint a picture of an out-of-control detachment, one in which a band of sailors conspired in the theft of more than $700,000 worth of government property and subjected junior sailors to humiliating and painful hazing.
The details began to emerge at the Article 32 hearing for Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Anthony R. Sandow, 26. The proceeding is similar to a civilian pretrial hearing, held to determine whether enough evidence exists to further prosecute the case.
Shooting, hazing, spanking
Testimony by witnesses at Sandow's hearing portrayed not only a loose attitude toward misappropriate and misuse of government property, but also an undisciplined workplace where fraternity-style hijinks and hazing were acceptable behavior. They described birthday spankings with a wooden paddle and lots of impromptu wrestling, including regular efforts to toss co-workers into the water in a ditch in back of the compound.
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