My sailors made a mistake. They indulged in the splendors of a Thailand port visit but failed to report back in time for muster. A lapse in judgment, to say the least, and once caught, they began the traditional journey of naval discipline. They were first met with a disciplinary review board (DRB), which the command master chief and a group of senior enlisted sailors chaired, with many of whom my sailors had never interacted with. This was followed by an executive officer inquiry (XOI), and finally, they found themselves faced with an official meeting with their commanding officer in the form of a closed captain’s mast. The ship’s triad wanted not only to punish the wrongdoing, but also to diminish the chances of future mistakes. The punishment came and went, but months later I would still hear them reminisce about the incident with contempt. Their anger was not so much about the penance, which they rightfully accepted the consequences of, rather it was about the theatrical public shaming on their behalf—a show meant to set an example for the rest of the command.
1. Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York, NY: Random House, 1995).
2. Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 258.
3. Surden, Esther. “Privacy Laws May Usher in 'Defensive DP': Hopper.” ComputerWorld 10, no. 4 (26 January 1976).