A commanding officer of the guided missile submarine USS Florida was fired last summer for failing to launch a formal investigation into rumors of a “rape list” of female crew members aboard the boat.
Capt. Gregory Kercher lost his job for a loss of confidence in his ability to lead after he was told about two lists about female sailors serving on the boat, according to a report in Military.com.
“Rumors of a ‘rape list’ were promulgated throughout the crew, significant numbers of females became concerned for their safety, and male members who learned of the list were equally repulsed,” Rear Adm. Jeff Jablon, then-commander of Submarine Group 10, wrote to his superior days before Kercher’s relief. “Very few knew what limited action was being taken by the (command).”
Kercher was commanding officer of the Florida’s Gold crew, one of two that alternate so the boat can stay at sea as much as possible. The Florida is home ported at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.
One list identified female crew members using a star system and another list contained sexually explicit comments next to each name.
Kercher directed a search of the submarine’s network, but failed to open a formal investigation or notify his command two months after the incident was first reported.
“Although he took some action in response to the list, there is no question that those minimal actions fell far short of expected standards and norms for an event of this magnitude,” Jablon wrote in his statement.
At least two sailors administrative discharges from the military and an undisclosed number of others faced administrative punishment for their roles in the list.
The incident is considered isolated and not reflective of the behavior of submarine forces Navywide, officials said.
The Gold crew has 173 sailors, including 32 women: five officers, two chief petty officers and 25 sailors with the rank of petty officer 1st class and below.
In 2014, a dozen Kings Bay sailors were implicated in secretly videotaping female officers undressing and showering on the USS Wyoming.