Sailor Needs Online Alcohol Class

by: Mike Miller

Discipline is an integral part of military culture. Service members are expected to comport themselves in a professional manner and gross personal misconduct is not at all tolerated.

#2 Going Down

The second-in-command of Navy warship HMAS Warramunga has been relieved of duty and sent home, pending an investigation into serious misconduct.

The action follows a drunken brawl in Singapore involving several sailors and a female officer prior to the Anzac class frigate sailing to Cambodia where a senior sailor died in a hotel room.

The dead sailor, Leading Seaman Bradley Livingstone, was one of 10 sailors who tested positive to alcohol while on duty earlier this year. Livingstone, who was found dead in a hotel room in the Cambodian port city of Sihanoukville, had been receiving alcohol counseling.

During the Singapore bar fight a female sailor was punched in the face by a male crewman before the local police and diplomatic staff were called and the drunks were escorted back to the vessel.

The melee allegedly lasted 45 minutes but was described by Navy as a "minor scuffle".

It is understood that the captain of Warramunga, Commander Michael Turner, was angry about the public exposure of his crew's poor behavior. Rumor has spread that the Warramunga has been plagued by problems with alcohol and drug abuse.

In one instance, several sailors allegedly attempted to purchase marijuana during a port visit in China. Earlier this year a sailor tested positive to cannabis during a random drug test, but kept his job because he was a "good sailor".

In March the former Navy chief Vice-Admiral Russ Crane warned all sailors that unless binge drinking was controlled he would implement a "no alcohol" policy for all foreign port visits and compulsory alcohol and drug testing. 

The military is pretty good about policing itself. I would like to see the military require all enlisted soldiers and officers to complete an online alcohol class.