Hangman’s noose discovered on a destroyer, leaving more questions than answers
By David B. Larter
A shipyard worker discovered a hangman’s noose in an engineering space on board the Norfolk-based destroyer Ramage undergoing an overhaul in a Mississippi shipyard, but nobody knows anything more about it, Navy officials said Thursday.
The discovery of a noose on a Navy ship raised any number of possibilities from a potential racial intimidation tactic to a potential suicide instrument, but the command’s leadership couldn’t figure out where it came from or who made it. So, three months after the discovery, the noose in the engineering space remained a mystery.
Ramage is undergoing maintenance in Huntington Ingalls’ Pascagoula shipyard. The noose was found in March lying on the deck in Main Engine Room 1 while workers were getting ready to wrap up for the day. A worker took the noose to his security department, which took it to the ship’s engineering department, and the chief engineer addressed the incident in the end-of-day meeting.
CHENG then took the noose to the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Steven Liberty, who immediately mustered the engineering department to address the issue, Navy officials said. None of the sailors claimed to know anything about it, or even having seen it before it was discovered.
When the whole crew had checked on board the next morning, Liberty addressed the rest of the crew about the noose, but still no more info came forward on it.
Liberty then raised the issue with Huntington Ingalls management and with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center, said Lt. Cmdr. Myers Vasquez, spokesman for Naval Surface Force Atlantic.
"The command leadership immediately recognized the potential implications of the presence of a noose onboard the ship and took swift action to discuss this with the crew and maintenance team leadership in an open and transparent manner," Vasquez said.
This noose incident was, as the command saw it, a one-off and there is no indication that it was even a crew member who left fashioned it, Vasquez said. There have been no similar incidents on board during the six months the Ramage has been in Mississippi.
"In the six months that Ramage has been in Pascagoula, Mississippi, for its maintenance availability, there have been no known issues of racial insults or derogatory interactions of any type between the ship and maintenance team, or suicidal ideations by Ramage sailors," Vasquez said.
About David B. Larter
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.