Metro-East News

U.S. Navy admiral pleads guilty in bribery case

Mike Fitzgerald
Mike Fitzgerald

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Robert Gilbeau pleaded guilty Friday to one count in the Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) investigation, becoming the highest-ranking officer thus far to face federal criminal charges, according to Navy Times.

He becomes the 14th person federally indicted in the GDMA scandal, also known as the “Fat Leonard” case after a nickname for Leonard Francis, the organization’s top official. Gilbeau became the ninth person charged to plead guilty.

Most of those charged were accused of accepting bribes and favors and committing fraud in exchange for information on U.S. Navy ship movements in the western Pacific and arranging visits to specific ports where GDMA handled ship husbanding chores — the panoply of services needed by any ship visiting a foreign port.

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Military.com is reporting that the Defense Department on Thursday confirmed the reassignment of a top official who was arrested in a parking dispute involving a neighbor’s nanny

Bryan Whitman, the Pentagon’s top strategic communications officer, was put on administrative leave over the incident, in which he was arrested on charges of stealing the license plates of a Capitol Hill neighbor’s nanny and leaving a threatening note.

Whitman is apparently back working at the Pentagon, but he has been stripped of a security clearance and reassigned to another area.

“Bryan Whitman has been detailed to perform duties for the Department of Defense outside the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs,” Gordon Trowbridge, deputy Pentagon Press Secretary, said in an email to Military.com.

Trowbridge didn’t specify where exactly Whitman was assigned or elaborate on the case, which has stunned Pentagon officials and observers alike.

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Engineman? Yeoman? Not so fast. Now that women will be allowed to serve in all combat jobs, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are dropping “man” from some of their job titles to make them inclusive and gender-neutral, according to Popular Military.

Much like the term “fireman” has evolved to “firefighter” and “policeman” to “police officer,” an engineman could be called an engine technician and a yeoman could be called an administrative specialist.

“This is one more step in how our force has changed,” Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said in an interview Friday. “Our force has evolved, our force is different. And I believe it’s stronger and better.”

Some Army and Air Force titles end in “man,” too, but the services aren’t considering changing them. The names are historically significant, and the focus now is on bringing women into the jobs rather than on what to call them, both services said.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter ordered the military in December to open all military jobs to women, including the Marine Corps and special operations forces like Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets.

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All was quiet aboard California Marine and Navy bases Thursday as a new law raising the age to purchase cigarettes from 18 to 21 took effect. But unlike the first law to raise the smoking age to 21, which took effect in Hawaii at the start of the year, this law explicitly exempts active-duty members of the military from having to comply, according to Military.com.

This is a significant loophole. California is home to more than 42,000 active-duty Marine Corps personnel, most of whom are based at Camp Pendleton near San Diego. The Corps also maintains multiple smaller bases in the state: Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, and the Marines’ Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport.

California also houses the Navy’s largest West Coast base, Naval Base San Diego, where more than 20,000 active-duty troops live and work.

While the Marine Corps and the Navy prepared troops for the new law in Hawaii with all-service bulletins threatening penalties for violators, the military response this time around was minimal.

“I have not heard any comments from Marines on the installations with concerns,” Carl Redding, a spokesman for Marine Corps Installations West, told Military.com.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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