|Credit: Navy Times (MC3 Diana Quinlan/Navy)|
On the cruiser Lake Erie, investigators found a grueling schedule with arbitrary weekend workdays; a supply officer so offensive that he was ordered not to speak to any E-6 or below; a crew that spent hours repeatedly cleaning the same places just to look busy; work done and redone because of miscommunication with the shipyard.
And the pièce de résistance: a seafaring pygmy goat named Master Chief Charlie.
Under commanding officer Capt. John Banigan, Master Chief Charlie was more than a mascot — he was a shipmate. Charlie sailed on the ship's homeport shift from Hawaii to San Diego in 2014, tied up on the aft missile deck where crewmembers fed him and policed his droppings.
And he was a fixture at command events. He hobnobbed with distinguished visitors, including the Navy's top officer and, allegedly, the strike group boss, and served as the ring bearer at a junior officer's wedding aboard the ship.
But the Navy's most adorable master chief would also end up costing Banigan his command....The story isn't just about the goat, it's mostly about the poor treatment of the sailors and the poor morale. That said, the story would not be nearly as eye-catching without the goat. (It's a funny thing, the goat. If Captain Banigan were a great motivator and well-loved, I sense that even the legal troubles with the goat could not possibly interfere with his career.)
I've worked for some pretty odd ducks in my time, but I've yet to meet a pet goat. Readers, got any good stories?