MISFIRE: The misfire of the year among Navy sailors might go to Peter Mims, the E-3 sailor who was initially thought to be lost at sea, causing a 50-hour manhunt off the coast of Japan, only to be found later hiding in an engine room aboard the guided-missile cruiser Shiloh off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. The Navy doled out it’s own version of a misfire on July 13 when Mims was handed undisclosed non-judicial punishment at a secretive admiral’s mast. It’s not clear why Navy leaders opted for a mast instead of a court martial, which meant Mims’ punishment was probably capped at 30-days’ confinement tops. And it’s not clear why the Navy won’t disclose his punishment. Either way, it’s a good bet Mims will be administratively separated from the Navy soon. The swift closure to the case that created embarrassing headlines around the world suggests the Navy was eager to have this matter resolved. It’s hard to know just how much Mims’ bizarre misconduct cost the Navy in terms of money, readiness and morale. But the sailors aboard the Shiloh and elsewhere who mounted the round-the-clock search-and-rescue effort probably have some idea.
Medals & Misfires is a new opinion feature from the Military Times editorial staff. Medals signify a job well done. Misfires signify a major blunder.