Entries in U.S. Navy (9)


Police Looking for Missing Navy Officer

Siri Stafford/Thinkstock(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) --  Authorities are trying to piece together where a respected Jacksonville, Fla. navy recruiter may have gone after he was reported missing 12 days ago.

Chief Petty Officer Kevin Williams, 39, was first reported missing by his wife, Vanessa, after the couple got into a fight in a mall parking lot on May 28.

In the heat of the argument, Vanessa Williams told ABC News that she walked off in the other direction, but told her husband to stay put.

"I was so mad with him, so I said 'Wait here. I'm not…I don't want to walk with you and argue anymore," she said.

But when she returned to the spot where she left him, Williams was gone, but he left his cell phone behind.

"He's a great dad, a great husband, [he's] very responsible," Vanessa Williams said.

Authorities said that Williams used his ATM card the evening of his disappearance.

While sheriff's deputies said the navy officer was last seen at an apartment complex on May 29, there has been no sign of Williams since.

"At this time, he is AWOL from the United States Navy, which is unusual since his rank is a chief," Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Lt. Robert Schoonover told ABC News.

While Williams' disappearance was characterized as unusual, police do not suspect foul play.

Meanwhile, Williams' family just wishes he would return home.

"I just wish he would come home. Things just aren't the same without him," his daughter, Journi Williams told ABC News.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Smooth Sailing for First Women to Serve on Navy Submarines

U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kimberly Clifford(WASHINGTON) -- Two years after the Navy decided  to allow women to serve as officers aboard its submarines, the integration of women into the submarine force appears to be going smoothly.

That’s the word from some of the first women selected to become “submariners,” who say the challenges they have faced during the last two years of training have had nothing to do with gender, but with the overall challenge of becoming a junior officer in the elite submarine force.

“It’s a challenge to be a junior officer on a submarine, in general,” said Ensign Abigail Holt, who is currently serving aboard the USS Wyoming.  ”Outside of being female on a submarine, all of us are trying to qualify, all of us are trying to support the ward room and trying to be a team member.  That is challenging, in itself.”

Holt was among several of the first 24 female naval officers selected to serve aboard submarines who participated in a Navy news conference held Thursday in Washington.  They were joined by male junior officers with whom they are currently serving with aboard submarines.

The first female officers began serving aboard submarines last November after completing the rigorous 18-month educational and training requirements required of all naval officers who set their sights on becoming submariners.  Serving aboard the submarines provides them with the real-world experience they need to earn the insignia known as the “dolphin” pin, or “fish” that sets them apart as fully qualified submarine officers.   

All of the officers at Thursday’s news conference are in the qualification phase of their service.

The current program allows female officers to serve on large ballistic and guided missile submarines, but not on the smaller, fast-attack submarines. 

Participating via phone link, Vice Adm. John Richardson, commander of submarine forces, said no decisions have been made about whether to allow women to serve on the attack submarines or to expand the program and allow enlisted women to also serve in the submarine force.  He said those decisions would await the feedback and lessons learned from the current program. 

Richardson described the feedback that’s come in so far as “very positive and very encouraging.”  He said that, beginning in 2013, the Navy hopes to add about 20 additional women a year under the program. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mistress of Navy Doctor Stabbed to Death by Wife Speaks Out

Hemera/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- The physician mistress of a Navy doctor who was allegedly stabbed to death by his widow testified at her trial that he said he planned to leave his wife for her, but the mistress broke off their relationship when she was told that his wife was pregnant.

Dr. Danielle Robbins was 30 when she met and fell in love with Navy Lt. Cmdr. Frederick Trayers, a married ER doctor, while they were both working aboard the USS Mercy in 2010.  Although Trayers had been married for nearly 20 years, Robbins continued the relationship.

"Every time we would talk and communicate I would just feel more connected," Robbins said in court Wednesday.  "He said [he and his wife] had issues, and he was unhappy for a long time."

Robbins says she ended the relationship when Trayers' wife, Jennifer Trayers, told her husband she was pregnant.  But the defense said Frederick Trayers was lying, and alleges that when Jennifer Trayers found out about the affair in December 2010 she stabbed her husband eight times in the back and through the heart at their San Diego home, killing him.

Prosecutors said that the evidence will show that Jennifer Trayers waited to catch him unprepared, that she armed herself with the knife and that she attacked him with planned marksmanship.

Police responding to the scene found Frederick Trayers curled up in his bed, and Jennifer Trayers lying nearby with apparently self-inflicted stab wounds.

While Jennifer Trayer's lawyer does not deny his client killed her husband, he says she lost control while they were wrestling over a knife.

Frederick Trayers and his wife both had a history of infidelity and were going to counseling, according to ABC News' San Diego affiliate 10 News.

In court, Robbins recounted secret meetings including jogs on the beach and hikes, and bar-hopping the night of Jennifer Trayer's birthday, according to 10 News, which reported that Jennifer Trayers sent Robbins an eight-page email telling her, "My husband is not going to be yours."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


64 US Navy Sailors Discharged for Selling, Using Drugs

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- Some of the sailors aboard the ship that buried al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at sea earlier this year have also been tossed overboard, career-wise.

According to Navy officials with the U.S. 3rd Fleet, as many as 64 sailors based in San Diego were recently busted for using or selling drugs.

The drug of choice seems to have been the herbal substance "spice," which gives users a marijuana-type high.  These "fake" pot drugs aren't legal and the Navy came down hard on the sailors, kicking some of the worst offenders out of the service.

While the sailors, all of whom received non-judicial punishment, were stationed on three vessels, 49 were from the USS Carl Vinson.  Last May, bin Laden's body was buried at sea from the deck of this ship after he was shot dead by Navy SEALs in Pakistan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Naval Commander Convicted of 9/11 Fraud -- A decorated retired naval officer who was honored for his heroic actions during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon was found guilty Monday of defrauding a 9/11 victims’ compensation fund.

Cmdr. Charles Coughlin of Severna Park, Maryland was found guilty of making a false claim in order to collect more than $300,000 from the fund.  Coughlin claimed he was injured by falling debris when he raced back into the Pentagon to help others.  He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal for his actions and the injuries he suffered that day.

Soon after, the 52-year-old Coughlin claimed he suffered constant pain in his neck, along with headaches, weakness and numbness in his left hand.  He also claimed he could no longer play basketball, work on homeowner projects or run long distance races.

Prosecutors say Coughlin ran in the New York City Marathon two months after the terrorist attack.  They also presented photographs of Coughlin playing lacrosse.

The verdict carries a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison, but prosecutors are expected to seek a sentence of three to four years when Coughlin is sentenced on Nov. 21.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Warship and Helicopters Tracking Yacht Hijacked by Somali Pirates

Image Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A US Navy warship on Monday continued to track a yacht holding four Americans that was seized by pirates between the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, authorities reported.

The Americans, sailing the world on a Christian mission to distribute bibles, were ambushed by pirates in dangerous waters nearly 300 miles off the Somali coast. On board the yacht were Jean and Scot Adam from California and Phyllis MacKay and Bob Riggle from Washington State.

The last time pirates targeted an American vessel -- the Maersk Alabama in 2009 -- the heist ended with all but one of the pirates killed by US Navy sharpshooters.

The challenge for international warships now is keeping the pirates from making it to the Somali shore where they and their hostages can easily disappear.

Back in California, church-goers are praying for a quick return home for the hostages.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman on Saturday said officials were assessing options and "possible responses" to the situation.

It is believed that Somali pirates currently have 29 ships in their possession and are holding 660 crewmembers hostage.

The 58-foot S/V Quest is owned by the Adams, who have been sailing the boat around the world for the past seven years. As they approached the notoriously hostile waters off the Horn of Africa, they cut back using their radios and satellite systems so their location couldn't be tracked by pirates, but they were still found.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Navy Monitoring Yacht Seized by Pirates with Four Americans Onboard

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SALALAH, Oman) -- The U.S. Navy is carefully tracking a yacht seized by Somali pirates Friday with four Americans onboard. A source confirms to ABC News that the Navy has at least one warship and helicopters monitoring the vessel as it makes its way to Somalia from Yemen.

The advocacy group Ecoterra International indicated that the S/V Quest was seized 240 nautical miles off the coast of Oman in the Indian Ocean.

The 58-foot S/V Quest is owned by Jean and Scott Adam, who have been sailing the boat around the world for the past seven years. As they approached the notoriously hostile waters off the Horn of Africa, the Adams cut back using their radios and satellite systems so their location couldn't be tracked by pirates, but they were still found.

The Adams are members of the Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, California.

Pirate seizures have continued in the waters off East Africa despite the constant patrols of by the world's navies, including ships from the United States. It is believed that Somali pirates currently have 29 ships in their possession and are holding 660 crewmembers hostage. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lawyer Flips on Fugitive GOP Donor Who Allegedly Scammed Millions

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The woman who once vigorously defended the U.S. Navy veterans charity run by an Ohio fugitive who is alleged to have swindled millions of dollars now concedes she, too, was fooled.

Helen MacMurray told ABC News that she has begun working with investigators to help them locate the man, who went by the name Bobby Thompson, but whose real identity remains a mystery. She believes he may have fled overseas to the Middle East or Eastern Europe.

"My understanding is that he had a lot of connections out of the country," she said. "He bragged about that."

Top law enforcement officials in Ohio have spent months hunting for the man they believe exploited the good name of America's warriors to abscond with more than $100 million. The eccentric looking Florida man called his charity the U.S. Navy Veterans Association, and for eight years he raised money for the group, mostly through phone solicitations. He told donors the group was assisting needy veterans, and garnished this pitch with dollops of credibility by donating small amounts to legitimate veterans' groups.

Federal election records show he invested some of the money -- more than $200,000 -- in campaign contributions to top Republican politicians, including President George W. Bush, U.S. Sen. John McCain, and the incoming Speaker of the House, John Boehner. In exchange, he received grip-and-grin snapshots with American political leaders -- the sort of photo that may be commonplace on office walls in Washington, D.C., but looked to outsiders like evidence of an important man with heavy-duty connections.

When the Florida newspaper the St. Petersburg Times first wrote articles raising questions about the legitimacy of Thompson's charity, he hired MacMurray -- a former head of Ohio's consumer protection unit -- to defend the charity from the swirling allegations.

MacMurray said that despite her own background in consumer affairs, she now believes she was tricked.

"I didn't even know until I read it in the newspaper that his name wasn't Bobby Thompson. I was pretty shocked by that," she told ABC News. "I just found it hard to believe that this man who seemed to have spent his life helping veterans did the opposite."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Pentagon Dismisses Reports of 34 Warships for Obama Trip Security

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Navy(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon did not mince words in dismissing as “absolutely absurd” and “comical” media reports from Indian news outlets that the U.S. Navy was sending 34 warships off the coast of Mumbai as part of the security preparations for President Obama’s upcoming trip to India. 

The reports appeared in Indian media outlets, such as the Press Trust of India and the television network NDTV. The Press Trust of India is that country’s largest news agency.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters he was making an exception to the practice of not discussing Presidential security details in order to dismiss the reports.

“I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we were deploying 10 percent of the Navy -- some 34 ships and an aircraft carrier -- in support of the president's trip to Asia,” said Morrell at Thursday's Pentagon briefing. “That's just comical. Nothing close to that is being done."

He acknowledged that a presidential trip requiring security needs “should not come as a surprise to anyone” and that the Defense Department “does play a role in support of presidential missions.” He said it was customary to not discuss such security requests, but “I made an exception in batting down this absurd notion of there being 34 ships, or more than 10 percent of the Navy, deployed in support of this trip. That is most certainly not the case.”

The Indian media reports also say security for the presidential trip will cost $200 million a day.  Morrell “there's been a lot of creative writing that's been done on this trip over the last few days. I've seen other reports with some astronomical figures in terms of what it costs to take these trips. I don't know the cost. We don't speak to the cost.” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was blunt in his characterization of the cost reports, saying “this trip doesn't cost $200 million a day.”  Gibbs would only say the costs were comparable to the costs incurred by Presidents George W. Bush and Clinton to the region.

A Navy spokesman confirmed that given the size of the Navy fleet, 34 warships tasked to security for the president would constitute 11.8 percent of the fleet.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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