Something has gone terribly wrong on the cruiser Hue City's deployment.
Seven chief petty officers on Hue City were punished by their commanding officer, six in relation to adulterous affairs, according to a written statement from Naval Surface Force Atlantic.
Capt. Daniel Gillen, Hue City's skipper, conducted non-judicial punishment proceedings for six chiefs, two of whom were involved in separate adulterous affairs with a junior sailor. Those chiefs were found guilty of fraternization and adultery at captain's mast after an investigation substantiated the allegations, the statement said.
Four other chiefs were punished for having knowledge of the affairs but not coming forward with information.
"The four other Chiefs with direct knowledge of the relationship were found to be in violation of Article 92 (Failure to Report Fraternization Offense)," the statement said.
In a separate incident, a chief was found guilty of drunk and disorderly conduct and disrespecting an officer during a port visit.
The actions were taken to restore trust in leadership, said SURFLANT spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Myers Vasquez.
"Whether actively engaging in misconduct or standing by idly and failing to report or correct it — both are degradations to our Navy team and the trust it takes to be successful and will not be tolerated," Vasquez said. "We operate in a very demanding environment and need the best from our people day in and day out."
The allegations first came to light by way of an anonymous comment in the CO's suggestion box, Vasquez told Navy Times.
The punishments took place over three days between April 21 and 23. The petty officer involved in the affair is awaiting non-judicial punishment proceedings, the statement said said. Seven chiefs comprise roughly a quarter or more of the chiefs' mess, which can range between 25 and 28, depending on manning and the type of missions the ship is executing.
Retired Capt. Rick Hoffman, who commanded Hue City, said affairs on the deck plates can't be tolerated because breakups and jealousy start to take a toll on sailors' mission focus. Furthermore, it's virtually impossible to engage in discrete fraternization on board, which means sailors' trust in leadership will be affected, he said.
"I can't run a ship in combat that way," Hoffman said. "I can't go to war with high school [BS] going on behind my back. If you are having sex with a shipmate it will undermine my combat readiness, and I'll have to [deal with] anyone involved."
Hue City deployed in January and is currently operating in the Middle East, according to photos posted on the Navy's official website. This is the first deployment for Hue City since a 2014 fire in the cruiser's mighty uptakes caused $23 million in damage.
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.