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USS Truman command master chief to retire in wake of ‘strip club’ comment

An F/A-18F Super Hornet assigned to the “Red Rippers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 launches from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rebekah A. Watkins/Released)

The command master chief of the USS Harry S. Truman, who late last month cajoled sailors to “clap like we’re at a strip club” for Vice President Mike Pence’s arrival aboard the aircraft carrier, is retiring, a Navy official said Tuesday.

The remark by Master Chief Jonas Carter, reported by journalists covering Pence’s arrival April 30, drew rebuke by the Navy.

Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Laura Stegherr said at the time that Carter’s statement was “inappropriate” and that the Truman’s leadership would address it.

His retirement was announced in a Facebook post by the carrier’s commander, Capt. Nick Dienna. He quoted a farewell message from Carter in which the retiring master chief addressed the strip club bruhaha head on.

“When you find yourself making a mistake, own it, accept responsibility and learn from it,” Carter wrote. “Today, I want each of you to know that I have taken full responsibility of my mistake last week and together with my family, I have decided to retire.”

Dienna offered mostly praise for the career mariner.

“Master Chief Carter has devoted nearly thirty years of his life to our Navy,” he wrote. “During his seventeen years of wearing his anchors, from his leadership aboard three aircraft carriers and as CMC of the USS Chancellorsville, Master Chief Carter has touched the lives of thousands of Sailors and has molded countless future leaders in our Navy. I’ve seen firsthand — and the more than 3,000 Sailors aboard Truman can testify to — the incredible impact he’s made to our command.

“Onboard USS Harry S. Truman, we measure ourselves by the highest standards of professionalism and personal integrity,” Dienna continued. “I commend Master Chief Carter for having the forthrightness and the courage to uphold this ethos by taking responsibility and holding himself accountable for his comments.”

Pence visited the ship in Norfolk, Va., to announce that the administration had scuttled plans for early retirement of the carrier.


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