Captain’s Mast is the name for the Non-Judicial Punishment trial in the Navy. I’ve discussed it in the past and pointed out how it can be ineffective at times in curtailing negative behaviors. But, a topic of discourse amongst the junior personnel in command is how the punishment system is skewed against them. Statistically speaking, junior ranks do make the largest percentage of Captains Mast in the Navy so in a sense they’re correct in their assessment. But, why is it that they get trouble more often? Are the punishments harsher based on the rank? You’d be surprised to find out there is, in fact, a difference.

One of the biggest differences between junior personnel and higher ranked individuals is the connections they’ve made. Junior personnel who’ve just arrived in the Navy have little in the way of protection from their peers. Usually, camaraderie takes time to build, and the junior ranks haven’t been able to put in their time to learn who they can trust or not. As such, when trouble rears its ugly head, they won’t be able to sweep the problems under the rug and pretend nothing happened.

Furthermore, the opposite is completely true, as sailors or other military members rise in rank, they become more familiar with who has their back and who is going to burn them for a chance at looking better. Personnel who are competitive in the ranking evaluations are usually not to be trusted, especially if they’re gunning for the next rank. The rat race will turn anyone into a potential snitch who will do everything to score higher, but this doesn’t always apply as some are less competitive than others.

Yet, it’s staff members who have it the best. Congress institutes officers and Chiefs in the Navy and to strip them of rank is a lot of work. Normally, if an E-7 gets into some serious problem, then they will lose rank, but if it’s something that did not garner too much attention they will get away with a slap on the wrist. I’ve only seen a few chiefs ever get into trouble and I remember one specific case was due to adultery combined with fraternization. But, even then it depends on who the members know.

On the flip side are the officers who seem to have a lot of leeways as well. I heard a story of an officer who escaped serious punishment and only received a Letter of Reprimand after having a drunken night out in Tokyo and ending up in the Canadian ambassador’s house in the city. Others, such as captains and triads get relieved from their commands, but otherwise, continue serving and even get retirements after their misdeeds.

Granted, when Captains get fired for situations outside their normal spectrum, it’s understandable the Navy would hesitate in throwing them out. But, when it’s clear a lack of judgment was exercised during the events, then they should be punished accordingly. It often seems the Navy takes it easier on higher personnel because of their investment.

As a member rises in rank, the Navy’s investment in them increases exponentially. From allowances to schools, a member who has served for over 20 years has accumulated a large investment, and the Navy doesn’t want that money to go to waste. But, this type of investment also creates a sort of untouchable barrier for the member. The more the Navy has invested, the less likely they are to punish or even remove the member from the service harshly. Furthermore, a person who knows their invaluable will also be less risk-averse. The risk aversion is also one of the probable factors involved with the members of 7th Fleet who were participating in a drug ring and the Fat Leonard Scandal.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.


Emmanuel "Dash the Bomber" Barbosa

Emmanuel Barbosa, AKA Dash The Bomber, is currently serving in the 7th fleet, and has over 8 years of experience in the military. A writer with a penchant for the humorous and informative, he loves to share his stories with those who would be willing to listen. Having served in deployments that have taken him around the world, Dash has seen and heard about many things that would be hard to believe. A loving father and a faithful husband, he is dedicated to protecting his family and country. For fun he enjoys cosplaying, videogames, and writing for online magazines.

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