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Navy boots 34 sailors for nuke school cheating

Admiral Jonathan GreenertAn investigation of a cheating ring at the renowned U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School resulted in the expulsion from the Navy of 34 sailors, with another 10 still under investigation, the Navy said last week.

The investigation started after a whistleblower tip in February, according to the U.S. Naval Institute News.

Investigators found that more than 76 senior enlisted staff instructors at the training school in Goose Creek, South Carolina were involved over a seven-year period.

They “participated in a system to cheat on the classified engineering watch supervisor (EWS) qualification,” the report said.

The Petty Officers and Chiefs — assigned to the nearby Moored Training Ship 626 (the former USS Daniel Webster) Staff Training Group — created a network of thumb drives, CDs and emails known as the “Pencil File” aligned to the five versions of the EWS test, according to the Navy’s report of the investigation dated March 15 and released on Wednesday.

The instructors knew which version of the test would be scheduled and passed out the Pencil File to the cheaters ahead of the tests.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, said, “To say I am disappointed would be an understatement. We expect more from our sailors — especially our senior sailors.”

Navy officials said the instructors at Goose Creek teach about nuclear power plants on Navy ships and submarines and aren’t involved in any nuclear weapons programs.

After the investigation, the Navy adjudicated 68 cheating cases and found 36 sailors had been involved.

“Punishment was suspended for two of the 36 sailors based on their minimal involvement and their strong potential for rehabilitation,” USNI News said.

The remaining 34 sailors had their security clearances stripped and were kicked out of the service.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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