Join the Navy, Steal a Gun?

The story, written by one Todd Richmond, who works for the Associated Press, carried the headline "EX-NAVY CLERK PLEADS GUILTY IN GUN CASE." I read that and thought, Wow, some Petty Officer Third Class managed to steal a bunch of guns. Promote him to Master Chief.

So then I read a little further and found that the squid in question, a Lieutenant David Carmel, was actually a supply officer on the U.S.S. Shrike. (Memo to the fact checker at AP, if there is one: A supply officer is not the same thing as a supply clerk. An award is not the same as a decoration. A marine is not a soldier, and vice-versa. And on, and on.)

While on active duty, the enterprising Lt. Carmel obtained hundreds of laser sights, machine-gun parts, and night vision goggles that he wasn't entitled to. This seemed odd to me, as I can remember having to sign a loyalty oath, swearing that I would not make fun of Lyndon Johnson's semi-beautiful daughters, in order to buy a field-jacket liner from the Army in 1964. "Uh, this is Lieutenant Carmel on the Shrike. I'd like to requisition all the M-60 and SAW parts you have, and a bunch of NVGs, and some laser sights, and a ham on rye, hold the mustard."

Apparently the Navy hands this stuff out to whoever wants it. But give them credit. Carmel was caught, and asked to leave, but since becoming a civilian has expanded his scope of operations. He was found to have 60 unregistered machine guns (not mere parts), plus a rocket launcher, artillery shells, and dozens of grenades. Carmel faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on November 27.

However, this would be a tragic waste of talent. Commission him in the Army and put him in charge of getting the troops up-armored HUMVEES, or something like that. They could use a man with his kind of initiative.