Navy Sailors Punished for Academic Cheating

The Navy Times reports that the US Navy has disciplined 13 sailors for cheating during a written nuclear propulsion test on board the carrier USS Harry S Truman.  The reports do not explain what the sailors did, except to say they were using notes; it is possible that the notes were test gouge, especially since the Navy subsequently made all the sailors re-take the test.

Retired Capt. Jim Colgary, a former submarine commander, said:

Trust is the fundamental bedrock of going to sea on these ships.  If an individual is dishonest enough to cheat on an exam, you can’t trust them to stand watch or take logs on systems associated with nuclear reactors.

Colgary’s analysis applies well beyond the nuke test.  The trust bestowed upon the US military by the American public is a sacred one, and it is jealously protected.

This and other cheating incidents serve as a reminder, however, that despite the high standards of integrity in the military, and despite the severe repercussions, there are times where there is pressure to cheat, and there may even be a cultural sense that cheating may be ‘allowed,’ if not encouraged.  It is a challenging culture for any young Airman, Sailor, Soldier, or Marine.  Each must choose to do the right thing–not the “easy” thing.

When a military member lives to the highest moral and ethical standards in everything he does, it doesn’t necessarily make the hard decisions any easier, but it does develop the strength of character necessary to make them.

This site doesn’t highlight scandals like this in order to make light of them or to tarnish the reputation of the military.  Instead, the intent is to provide young military members, and those who are considering the military service, with a realistic picture of the military environment.  This is true, too, for Christians either in or considering the military service.  The military is by no means perfect.  There will be ethical and moral challenges.

What choice will you make?