Wired Strategies Press Release

Email Press Release May 12, 1998    

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 12, 1998 - 7PM EDT
Contact: John Aravosis, 202/328-5707


MCVEIGH TO BECOME MASTER CHIEF PETTY OFFICER
Advocates ask that Navy appeal be dropped

It has just been learned that at 7AM Hawaii time (1PM Eastern Daylight Time), Wednesday, May 13, Senior Chief Petty Officer Timothy McVeigh will be granted the uniform and rank of Master Chief Petty Officer in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  In view of the Navy's recent attempt to discharge Senior Chief McVeigh, and McVeigh's subsequent victory in federal court in which the Navy was found guilty of violating the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the President's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" policy, advocates are asking that the Navy's entire case against McVeigh now be dropped.

McVeigh is one of only 16 electronic technicians selected for the new Master Chief Petty Officer rank, out of an eligible pool of 168 sailors worldwide.  Wednesday's "frocking ceremony" permits him to wear the uniform and have the privileges of his new rank as Master Chief, while the actual "promotion" and salary benefits commensurate with the position will not come for several months, as is standard Navy policy.  

Earlier this year, the Defense Department attempted to discharge Senior Chief McVeigh after Naval investigators violated federal wire-tap law in obtaining the sailor's confidential email account information from America Online.  The illegally obtained evidence led the Navy to conclude that McVeigh was gay - it also led a federal judge on January 29th of this year to rule that the Navy had gone on an improper "search and destroy" mission against the 18-year veteran, and to order the Navy to reinstate him.  The Clinton Administration subsequently appealed the ruling.

Asked to comment on his new position, the highest enlisted rank in the US Navy, McVeigh responded from his home in Hawaii: "I feel great, I have worked extremely hard for 18 years to keep Navy submarines mission ready and make them a better place for sailors to work.  I look forward to continuing that challenging job."  While clearly pleased about his imminent promotion, Senior Chief McVeigh asked to be permitted to congratulate the other new Master Chiefs as well: "I would like to take a moment to congratulate the other senior chief petty officers who were on the same list and selected for advancement as well."

Online advocates and others following the high-profile McVeigh scandal are now asking the Pentagon and the White House to drop their appeal against the sailor.  "The simple truth is that when the Navy took politics and prejudice out of the equation, it found Senior Chief McVeigh deserving of its highest rank," said John Aravosis, an online strategist assisting McVeigh with his case.  "It would now be the height of hypocrisy, not to mention an incredible waste of taxpayer dollars, for the Clinton Administration to promote Senior Chief McVeigh with one breath and kick him out with the other."  

In spite of the Pentagon brass' concerted campaign to end the sailor's lifetime of service to his country, McVeigh's advancement to such a senior position comes as no surprise to those familiar with his outstanding record.  In his performance reviews, available on his Web site, McVeigh's commanders had nothing but praise for his performance: 

* "As Chief of Boat, he has been a superior leader whose innate ability to  motivate, inspire and train personnel significantly improved productivity and command performance."

* "His stellar appearance and positive influence make him an outstanding
role model, and his embodiment of Navy core values guarantees success."

* "Ranked number 1 and recommended for early promotion."

* "Best diving officer of the watch, demonstrated poise and exceptional
shiphandling skills."

* "Directly responsible for high crew morale (and) for order and
discipline."

* "McVeigh's inspirational leadership permeates throughout my command."

* "His example has fostered unparalleled productivity and esprit de corps."

* "Unfailing diligence...total dedication to excellence...an invaluable
asset to the Navy...promote now!"

"When you read his performance reviews and then look at the way the Clinton Administration has treated him, it's actually rather sad," said Aravosis.  "Here's a guy who's done his job, served his country, and even moved in with his mother in order to care for her after a recent heart attack - and all the Clinton Administration and Pentagon brass can think about is ruining his career and destroying his life."

"America needs good sailors," said Aravosis.  "The Navy made a mistake in going after Timothy McVeigh.  Let's hope his promotion is a sign that they've finally decided to move on and leave this American hero alone."
Senior Chief McVeigh's frocking ceremony is to take place at 7AM Wednesday, May 13, 1998 at the Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific, Pearl Harbor, HI, on North Road. 

Any press desiring to attend would be required to get approval from the Submarine Force Pacific Fleet Public Affairs Office.  The phone number is (808) 471-0911, contact: Commander Betsy Bird, submarine force pacific fleet public affairs officer.    

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