Navy Removes Carrier XO for Immorality

According to the Associated Press, the US Navy removed the executive officer of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower for an inappropriate relationship with a female Soldier while both were married (to other people).  Notably, they were able to produce no evidence of adultery (by military standards):

The former executive officer…had an inappropriate relationship…but Navy investigators did not find evidence of adultery…

Capt. Robert Gamberg was removed in June from his post as the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier’s second in command.

Gamberg, a Navy EA-6B Prowler pilot, was reportedly cited for “conduct unbecoming an officer.”  (The actual charge from the UCMJ is “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.”)

The interesting thing about this case is that it doesn’t follow the normal lines of fraternization or other impact to the military mission.  While there is likely far more to this case than the news blurb describes, at face value the AP report implies the married XO was a bit of a womanizer — but the charge was “conduct unbecoming” as well as apparently failing to obey an order or regulation related to the incident, though the specifics have not been publicized.

In short, without any proof of a sexual relationship, the Navy fired a commander for the conduct of his private life.

Sounds an awful lot like a moral judgment — which many have claimed the US military is not entitled to make.

Of course, moral character remains an essential component of military service — for now, at least.


  • JD — you wrote the charge was (supposedly) “conduct unbecoming” as well as apparently failing to obey an order or regulation related to the incident. These are/were violations of the UCMJ not a moral judgement. Are you implying it was a moral judgement because there was no actual proof of adultery or maybe some circumstantial evidence that the appearance of adultery might have occurred?

    And, for the record, the US Military HAS NOT made a moral judgement against homosexuality. In fact, with the repeal of DADT the chances of that happening are, um…never.

  • @watchtower
    You are correct that “conduct unbecoming” is a UCMJ violation. But what is the ever-subjective “conduct unbecoming”?

    It is, at its essence, a judgment on the conduct and character of the officer. In this case, the judgment that cavorting, even if not sleeping, with a woman who was not his wife was punishable — even though it was an act completely within his private life, which is the same defense homosexuals have used for their conduct. It is a “moral” judgment.

    The US military made a moral judgment on homosexuality for 200 years. It said homosexuality was incompatible with military service.

  • That judgement is demonstrably false. There is evidence that homosexuality is perfectly compatible with military service.