Navy Officer Files IG Complaint Over Naming

FoxNews has an article about Ensign Steve Crowston, a Navy officer who said he was the victim of sexual discrimination:

The harassment began in August 2009, says Crowston, 36, when his fellow officers called him into a room for a review of call signs, a military moniker that easily identifies a service member. He says his name was written on a whiteboard with a list of call sign recommendations: “Cowboy,” “Gay Boy,” “Fagmeister,” “Cowgirl,” “Romo’s Bitch,” “TO, “Terrell Owens” and “Redskins.”

Call signs can be used in official military correspondence and in radio calls, and the names often get printed onto clothing and can follow someone throughout their career…

The issue of inappropriate or offensive call signs has reportedly been acknowledged by the Navy’s top leadership when Vice Adm. Tom Kilcline warned commanding offers to keep call signs professional…

Crowston said he was humiliated and offended by the call sign review and asked for an apology from officers responsible for coming up with the “Gay Boy” and “Fagmeister” suggestions.

“There needs to be acknowledgment that this is improper content — there’s obviously an issue with call signs — and I’m seeking acknowledgment that this is improper conduct within the aviator community,” Crowston said. “I believe I’m owed an apology for this.”

Crowston reportedly filed an IG complaint that was investigated and dismissed; the Naval Inspector General has reportedly reopened the investigation.

Callsigns and Namings have been covered here before, and like doofer books and some other fighter pilot traditions, they have a reputation that may not go well with public consumption.  It is not beyond the realm of possibility that the description Crowston gives of the Naming is accurate, though whether the conduct was sexual harassment may be open to interpretation.

Interestingly, if the article is correct, Crowston is 14 years older than most Ensigns; given that he has been in the Navy 16 years, it would seem he was previously enlisted.  He is also an “admin officer,” not a naval aviator.  The situation may have been exacerbated by an attempt to “initiate” an outsider, especially one who is more “mature” than those who normally go through the experience, into the “community.”