US Navy Patrol Boat Commander Wants Punishment Overturned

Two US Navy riverine command boats patrolling the Persian Gulf. Credit: US Navy

Persian Gulf — A disgraced US Navy patrol boat commander who was filmed apologizing to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard wants to repeal his punishment for “violating the service’s code of conduct”.

A screen grab from Iran’s State TV shows US Navy Lt. David Nartker apologizing to Iran and the Revolutionary Guard. Credit: Irinn.Ir

Lieutenant David Nartker, 27, was filmed apologizing to Iran and its Revolutionay Guard, after he and his crew were captured for drifting into Iran’s territorial waters in January.

Article IV of the Code states:

“When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.”

Military personnel who violate this code can be subjected to a court martial. According to the content of the video, Nartker was filmed telling the Iranian captors,

“It was a mistake. That was our fault. And we apologize for our mistake. It was a misunderstanding. We did not mean to go into Iranian territorial water. He went on to add, ‘The Iranian behavior was fantastic while we were here. We thank you very much for your hospitality and your assistance.”

The video was widely broadcasted on Iranian State TV to shame the United States government and its military. The damning footage showed American military personnel in captivity, with one of them weeping. The sailors were held for less than 24 hours and released but the episode comes as a huge embarrassment for President Barack Obama and the US Navy.

Photos taken by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard show US Navy sailors surrendering. Credit: Irinn.Ir

Nartker was disciplined with appropriate penalized action last week for violating the service’s code of conduct. But according to “Star and Stripes”, Nartker wants to repeal his punishment. It hasn’t been made clear as to how he has been disciplined or what kind of punishment he received.

Credit: Irinn.Ir

Ten US Navy sailors, nine men and one woman, were held hostage for 15 hours on Farsi Island, a Iranian navy base in the middle of the Persian Gulf, known to be the epicenter of Iran’s clandestine military operations. The sailors were on two small-sized armed vessels, also known as “riverine command boats” traveling on a 300-mile expedition from Kuwait to Bahrain, where the US Navy’s 5th Fleet is stationed.

Credit: Irinn.Ir

Internal investigations by the US Navy in June reveal that there may have been many errors that may have led to the capture, which range from communication failures to lack of training and oversight. Lt. Commander Jennifer Cragg, a representative for Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, stated that the appeal could amend Nartker’s punishment.

Nartker graduated from the US Naval Academy in 2011 with a degree in aerospace engineering. Originally from Naperville, Illinois, Nartker currently lives in California. He excelled at private Catholic schools before his appointment to the Naval Academy. His mother Darlene Nartker said that her son is a proud American who takes his responsibilities in the US Navy very seriously.

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