TIL of US Navy Admiral Boorda the first person to rise from the enlisted ranks to become Chief of Naval Operations who killed himself after being accused of wearing 2 unauthorized service ribbons

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You might also be unsurprised to learn the guy who was harassing him was later found to be claiming two medals he was not entitled to. Hackworth excused himself by blaming a clerk but he obviously didn’t extend the same courtesy to anyone else. The guy was a legend but also a good example of someone who thinks his own shit doesn’t stink.


I served 15 years in the Navy. I personally find the medals as stated reason for Admiral Boorda’s suicide extremely suspicious. Medals are a nice way to spice up a uniform, but all sailors know that in at-sea reality they don’t mean anything. (Unless it’s something big like a CMH or silver star.) Shit, the SEALs have a nickname for the purple heart. They call it the Enemy Marksmanship Ribbon. The Admiral came to my boat (USS Biddle) back in 1991. (He had attended the academy with my CO, Captain Fulkerson.) Admiral Boorda had recently been appointed Chief of Naval Personnel. When he asked the crew if anyone needed anything, one of the cooks raised his hand and said he wanted to go to Scotland but had been told by the detailer there were no orders for him. Admiral Boorda got him his orders and he left for Scotland within a week. Admiral Boorda cared about sailors. I don’t think he gave two shits about a Valor device.


I was an air force cop back in the 90’s. In firearms training, I always shot “expert” with the M9 & M16, and was given the “expert marksman with bronze star” by my 1st sgt. When I got out a few years later, there was no record of it on my authorized awards paperwork. Apparently none of the paperwork ever got filed for anyone in my unit. I just mention this, as it was fucking easy to get a medal/ribbon, and find out later that some jackhole never filed the papers. I’d imagine this happens less now that most everything is electronically filed.


I suspect his suicide has very little to do with the service ribbons and that the incident was probably just the final straw that put him over the edge.


He was a good guy, glad I got the chance to meet him in person before it happened