USS Bremerton Commander Fired Over Allegations He Hired 10 Hookers On Deployment

Cmdr. Travis Zettel salutes during a change of command ceremony. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael H. Lee/US Navy)

The commander of the submarine USS Bremerton who was relieved of command in August 2018 over issues of “inappropriate personal conduct” was investigated on allegations that he hired about 10 prostitutes while in port in the Philippines.

The Kitsap Sun first reported the revelation after receiving documents about the firing through a Freedom of Information Act request.

In March, while the Bremerton was in port at Subic Bay, Cmdr. Travis Zettel was spotted walking with around 10 “provocatively dressed females outside the front door of the hotel,” one sailor told NCIS agents after they received a tip through the Inspector General’s hotline.

The IG tipster said that Zettel told he and another sailor that he’d “ordered ten girls to arrive at the hotel.” Investigators also talked to another sailor who said he saw Zettel walking around talking to other sailors in his command with “three local females holding onto his arm.”

As the Sun reported, Zettel admitted to paying for “female accompaniment” to NCIS agents. He was later reprimanded and relieved of command of the Bremerton and reassigned to desk duty at Naval Base Kitsap.

A Washington native, Zettel commissioned in 1998 and first served about the USS Salt Lake City, before carrying out various assignments aboard other subs, according to an official bio.

Joint Special Operations Commander is also the guy who dropped the MOAB on ISIS

MOAB (Photo: Pinterest)

Back in April, the U.S. military dropped its most powerful non-nuclear weapon on an ISIS tunnel complex in Afghanistan. Formally named the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), it is more commonly called the Mother Of All Bombs. It is based on the Vietnam-era daisy cutter which was used to clear landing zones in the jungle via a fuel-air explosives. The Department of Defense particularly liked the weapon’s intimidation factor after using the MOAB’s predecessor during the Gulf War and against the Taliban early in the War on Terror.

Weighing in around 21,000 pounds, the MOAB was designed with surface targets in mind or unprotected tunnel and cave complexes, as opposed to hardened underground targets which would require a bunker buster or penetrator-type munition. Underground cave and tunnel networks present a vexing problem for defense planners, and the Department of Defense is now making a renewed effort to develop technologies to help soldiers clear underground structures. The MOAB presents one such solution to this tactical challenge.

Lieutenant General Scott Howell was the commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan (SOJTF-A) in April of 2017 when operational plans were drafted to destroy a tunnel complex occupied by ISIS fighters (largely former Taliban members who rebranded themselves) in Nangarhar Province in Eastern Afghanistan. Rather than risk the lives of squads and platoons of soldiers who would have to engage in risky close-quarter battle in underground and likely booby-trapped tunnels, the military looked to the MOAB, a bomb so big it would have to be flown in and delivered by a C-130 by rolling it off the ramp.

General Howell had previously commanded a secretive Air Force unit called the Aviation Tactics Evaluation Group (AvTEG), a unit that uses non-standard aviation assets acquired outside the normal DOD procurement process in order to provide JSOC operators with methods of clandestine insertion options into denied areas.

While The New Yorker reported it was President Trump who dropped the MOAB, he had just loosened some of the restrictions placed on commanders in the field. It was actually General Howell who made the call.

On April 14th, 2017, the MOAB was dropped on enemy forces for the first time in history, to devastating effect. Local officials on the ground estimated that around 90 ISIS fighters were killed in the blast.

Navy SEAL becomes first SEAL Fleet Master Chief in naval history

Fleet Master Chief Derrick Walters (Photo: U.S. Navy)

A Navy SEAL is being selected to be the next Fleet Master Chief of Naval Forces Europe and Africa, becoming the first-ever SEAL in the United States Navy’s (USN) history to rise to that position.

“I am excited to announce Force Master Chief Derrick Walters will be our new Fleet Master Chief,” said Admiral James Foggo, the commander of Naval Forces Europe and Africa. “He is a proven leader who brings a tremendous and very unique wealth of experience and will advocate for our sailors and their families serving overseas.”

It is worth noting that there are just four Fleet Master Chief positions in the entire U.S. Navy (Fleet Force Command, Pacific Fleet, Naval Forces, Europe/Africa, and Manpower, Personnel, Training, and Education).

“Force Master Chief Walters has a stellar record,” Admiral Foggo said. “Accordingly, he rose to the top of an impressive list of candidates considered for this critical job and I look forward to the pride, professionalism, and experience he will bring to our mission in Europe and Africa.”

As a Navy SEAL, Fleet Master Chief Walters knows how to overcome adversity. During his time at Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training, Master Chief Walters was almost washed out because of his poor swimming skills, an incongruous shortcoming for an aspiring frogman. He failed the first phase’s 500-meter swim test. “There I was doggy paddling,” he said. “And the guys had already done one lap and I had only moved 20 yards. I said, ‘This is not good.’ When the time had elapsed, I had only gone 100 yards so I did not pass.”

He persisted and says he “crushed everyone else at the other events.” He graduated BUD/S in 1988. Thereafter, Master Chief Walters was assigned to SEAL Teams 2 and 8, eventually becoming the operations and Command Master Chief for the former. He then proceeded to become the Command Master Chief of Naval Special Warfare’s Group 2 (NSW Group 2) training detachment, which is the East Coast section of the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) and is responsible for Africa, Europe, and South America. It is comprised of SEAL Teams 2, 4, 8, and 10. Furthermore, he served as the Command Master Chief of BUD/S and as the senior enlisted adviser at NATO’s special operations headquarters in Belgium.

The U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa is headquartered in Naples, Italy. The command is responsible for conducting joint and naval operations in Europe and Africa. The choice of Master Chief Walters highlights the increased importance that political and military leaders are putting in SOF. Although Europe isn’t likely to be engulfed in war, Africa is full of low-intensity conflicts that are designed for SOF. Therefore, by choosing Master Chief Walters, the Navy is likely to want a bigger piece of the mission pie in Africa. That brings out a question of suitability. The current conflicts in Africa require unconventional warfare (UW) and foreign internal defense (FID) capabilities, which are the specialty of the Army’s Special Forces Groups. SEALs excel in direct action (DA) and special reconnaissance (SR), among other mission sets. Consequently, it wouldn’t be wise for them to try and force their way into an operational realm that they aren’t trained for or aren’t equipped to handle.

Do soldiers use military terms in real life?

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This is maybe the one and only thing that’s not exaggerated in movies. In real life, it’s even worse. One thing every recruit in basic training has to pick up quickly is the “military speak”. The military slang is something every recruit learns quickly. It is a way of distinguishing between “us” and “them”, and also to create sense of belonging.

When I joined the German army, it surprised me how different the military terms were from what I’ve seen in the movies and read in novels. The barrel is called ”Rohr” and not “Lauf” as they say in the movies, and you say “gleiten” (gliding) instead of “kriechen” (crawling).

Some acronyms can have different meanings in another language. The acronym for the German Army’s Military Air Traffic Control, the “Militärische Flugsicherung” is MILF.

Additionally, every unit comes up with its own informal terminology. A new recruit, for example, was called a “Koffer” (suitcase) in my first unit, but “Muschi” (pussy) in my second one. They called them “suitcases” because in the first week, their name tags weren’t ready yet and the recruit had to wear a provisory name tag, like the ones you put on your luggage.

In the US Army, it’s even worse. The Americans love their acronyms. The term “Hummer”, or “Humvee”, for example, comes from the acronym HMMWV which stands for “High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle”. Only in America! So I will say that military members (not just Soldiers) use military terms. While it’s no longer literally beaten into us, it is required that while in the military that we use military terms. For example, “Head” for a bathroom, “scuttlebutt” for a drinking fountain, etc.

Once we get out, you might think that we’d do away with it. And that might be true for someone who’s spent a single enlistment (or even two), but for the rest of us, it’s ingrained. I still say “Roger” when my supervisor gives me instructions. I still use “very respectfully” when I sign my emails (vs “thanks – which in my opinion, is unprofessional in the extreme – regardless of having been in the military), and I still shine my boots. (As an aside, I still wear steel toe. Given how often people burst through the door of the head, I’ve found that it’s a good idea to wear steel toe boots to prevent actual damage).

For a lot of people who did extended bits in the military, the military was how they learned about adult life. It’s hard to divorce that from the civilian portion once a member has left the military and re-joined the civilian workforce. This, of course, is not even considering PTSD.

And of course, you can’t forget about Israel. I’d like to give a bit of a different angle on this question. My friend lives in a different country that has a bit of a different culture regarding this. For people living in Israel, army slang is used occasionally by just about everyone. It doesn’t matter if someone is in high school, after the army or a senior at work. It is pretty much ingrained in the way we speak, for some more than others, though.

The nature of the way they grow up, where everyone (including women) start getting ready to serve in the army in the middle of high school, means that all Israelians are all exposed to army slang (amongst everything else) very early.

The Role of Sniper in Modern Warfare

A US sniper team assigned to the Army's 7th Special Forces Group competes in an unknown-distance event in Colombia, July 26, 2014. (Photo: US Army/Master Sgt. Alejandro Licea)

All sides of a conflict saw the value in a sniper and no side has ever said that it is immoral or wrong in any way. A sniper is very aware that if captured by the enemy that things will go well for him.

I don’t know if it right to say a good sniper as the enemy certainly don’t see it that way, so I will say an experienced sniper. An experienced sniper, let’s say Sergeant York US Army during WWI always went for the last man in a string of marching soldiers, just as he went for the last goose as a gaggle was flying past to put on the table. The others wouldn’t be aware as the action has taken place behind them. If the front guy or goose it struck then those following will dissipate very quickly. York would just keep taking out the rearmost target and bag several kills. He also realized in trench warfare that if you occupy the enemy flank i.e. the side of the row, you could just keep firing as each man fell. Only one could fire back at a time and he just had to be quicker with the bolt and reload.

The sniper was then considered sneaky. They were loaners in the two world wars and a sneaky loaner was looked at with great suspicion by everyone. The Russian snipers would take out officers and those soldiers sent out to repair or lay communication lines. This was extremely effective.

War took a move to the point of sheer chill when it found that an injured soldier took many more of the enemy out of the fight. It put a strain on resources and caused logistical problems behind the lines. So the clean kill of the sniper unless on an important target was becoming unsuccessful compared with anti-personnel mines and some improvised devices.

In the Korean war, numbers of injured soldiers increased to such an extent that the only way to deal with the casualties was to have mobile hospitals MASH. With the use of helicopters and medivac units, troops could be patched up and sent back much more efficiently.

The Vietnam conflict was a new era in combat strategy. Sharpened bamboo sticks were placed in shallow holes lightly covered with shrubs. The weight of the soldier was enough for the pointed sticks to penetrate boot soles and flesh, ergo, out one GI. Put a bit of garlic or festering dung in the bamboo hollow and the infection would keep a GI in the hospital for weeks.

The Viet Cong also had snipers and would purposely wound the lead soldier so as to lure others to help. That way he/she knew that they would kill or just injure many more. American snipers found that the same was not true of the Viet Cong soldiers they shot to wound. Rather than risk their small platoon they would find a different route and leave their comrade to his/her own fate. Theirs was an ideological struggle and fanatics are not sentimental in conflict.

The Vietnam war was a particularly difficult war to fight. Not only did the enemy have underground tunnels but also used neighboring Cambodia to move troops. Legitimately the US and allies could not use Cambodia and the frustration must have been almost unbearable for commanders. Also, how can you tell a South Vietnamese from a North Vietnamese? The NVA wore uniforms and were easily identified, the Viet Minh wore mostly black as did the Viet Cong and the only way to tell friend from foe at a distance was the distinctive outline of the AK rifle and extended curved magazine.

The North Vietnamese treated all enemies the same. It did not matter to them that it was a sniper or an airman, they would be treated in the same brutal way.

As for North Vietnamese snipers, I think they were dispatched impassionately as they had no intel that would be useful. Not necessarily an execution but more likely during the heat of a firefight as described in most dispatches.

More modern warfare continues the use of snipers but as part of a team of specialists. Mostly two trained snipers would set up one with his rifle and the other a spotter. They would be watching over another team of perhaps marines that were doing house to house. Chris Kyle US Navy Seal was one such sniper during the Iraq war. Had he been captured then his fate would have been broadcast for the world to see. Not because he was a sniper, but because he stopped Marines from being killed by taking out threats from huge distances and removed the carnage that was the Iraqi’s desire. He had a price on his head.

A sniper has the ability to get up close and personal. Unlike most other soldiers the sniper sees the eyes of his target. Does he wonder what sort of husband the target is, whether he has children or but for circumstances out of his control is this normally a good man. If he allowed himself the luxury to wonder all the things you or I might consider he knows he cannot make the shot. Not because of sentiment but because he needs all his composure to aim small, shoot small. That is why he has been selected for the task. A hitman for the Mafia will always clear his conscience by telling the victim that ‘it ain’t positional’ before shooting him behind the ear. It cannot be personal for a sniper because the mind has to be full of the precision needed. It is, however, personal for the comrades of the target. The stray bullet with his name on it didn’t happen… this shot was designed and not in the hands of the gods.

How many ammo does a soldier carry in a war or battle?

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The more experienced the soldier, the less ammo he carries. From a personal perspective, when I started out in Bosnian campaign I carried as much as I could, which was about 8 or 9 mags with 30 bullets each. After a while, however, I realized that I rarely shot more than ten bullets during a firefight and I never ever spent more than one complete magazine. So I asked myself why was I carrying so much ammo around.

Later on, during major offensive operations, I used to take only four mags with me: one in the rifle, one in a big side pocket of my trousers and two in my combat vest. Additionally, I always carried some loose ammo in my trouser pockets.

Instead of more mags, I put two cans of baked beans or something similar to my mag pouches. After a day of marching through the woods and hills of Central Bosnia, I sat down and had something decent to eat, while the rest of my unit was munching on some army hard cookies and MREs.

Much later on, in Kosovo, I went down to three mags. In cases when we operated far away from our base I took another two magazines with me. This was absolutely sufficient for such kind of operations we used to run.

I already had to carry hand grenades, rifle grenades, and sometimes an RPG. Better to have an extra rifle grenade (that you might actually use) than to return with four full mags to the base. Although a single magazine doesn’t seem too heavy and won’t take much space, three or four mags are a completely different story.

The less you carry, the better: you are more agile, less exhausted and therefore more awake and attentive. Short, you are a better soldier. That means that the well-trained soldier is far more effective than the one who is less experienced and better equipped.