Petty Officers

While the embattled service chiefs take on tremendous challenges in procurement and recruiting, as the Navy itself faces an uncertain future, especially in trying to break the 300-ship barrier, a small group of well-placed Naval Academy graduates are suing, well, some other well-placed Naval Academy graduates. 

Does it get much pettier? We think not. 

In an episode of what could be tabloid TV’s, “America’s Most Bizarre Lawsuits,” it seems members of U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1964 have sued the Naval Academy Alumni Association. (Well, they’ve sued the association and 28 of 29 trustees. They decided not to serve the Marine fighting in Iraq.) 

Our boys from ’64 allege some of the Alum Chums’ officers are violating the group’s bylaws by exceeding mandated term limits. The larger issue gleaned from many lengthy e-mails is outrage over the Chums’ “clubbiness” and, well, detrimental chumminess. They also allege the group’s bylaws are ambiguous. (Did we mention that this plunges pettiness to news depths?) Who cares? Well, we didn’t until we learned there’s a back story here of (petty) power and control, coupled with some long-standing (petty) grudges. 

According to a source familiar with this fodder for a Jerry Springer special, it seems a member of Club ’64 who happens to be a prominent retired Marine might be calling the shots for the boys. It might be that his epic feud (details of which we will leave to rest in the Yard) with the Academy and the Alumni Association has culminated in legal action whose effect the boys might have overestimated. 

After years of (petty) frustration with Alum Chum leadership, Club ’64 took action. In 2005, our machine boss Marine put up a best bud for Alum Chum Chairman before the Chums’ Nominating Committee, the entity that decides which nominees go forward on the ballot to all alums. Get this: Best Bud was not selected and Machine Marine was mad. 

Despite this setback, what good machine doesn’t have a loyal sap on the inside feeding it info? In this case the “dissidents,” as the boys call themselves, believed it enough ammo to go after the Alum Chums in court. Though we have nothing indicating why, our guess is this move was an attempt to wrestle control away from the Chums and place one of Main Marine’s patsies in power. 

A judge recently tossed the case. It seems the “dissidents” have decided to appeal the decision.

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