Tuesday, March 10, 1998

‘Don't ask,
don't tell’ fight
isn't over yet

A Pearl Harbor sailor says the Navy
hasn't complied with a court
order to reinstate him

By Gregg K. Kakesako

A Pearl Harbor sailor who won an unprecedented reversal of his Navy dismissal on homosexuality charges will be back in court March 26 trying to get his old job back.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Tim McVeigh wants to return as the senior enlisted man on the USS Chicago or on any nuclear attack submarine assigned to the Pacific Fleet working from San Diego, but the Navy says that's not possible. He also wants the Navy to pay the costs of his civilian attorneys.

The Navy's only comment last night was, it "was still in the process of assigning Chief McVeigh to a position which is commensurate with his rank and pay grade."

However, in court last week the Navy said it could make McVeigh "a janitor if it wanted to," said Christopher Wolf, one of McVeigh's attorney.

U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 26 ordered the Navy to reinstate McVeigh, a 17-year veteran whom the Navy tried to dismiss Nov. 7 on charges he is gay and engaged in sodomy.

But Sporkin said the Navy violated its "don't ask, don't tell" policy against gays by conducting a "search and destroy" mission against the 36-year-old sailor, who has never expressed his sexual preference publicly.

Since then, McVeigh, who is not related to the Oklahoma City federal building bomber, has been trying to get the Navy to comply with Sporkin's order.

In a Feb. 3 letter to U.S. Justice Department attorneys, McVeigh also said his shore duty preferences included being senior enlisted adviser in Kings Bay, Ga., or in San Diego, in a position on shore comparable to one he held on the USS Chicago.

In court documents, the Navy argues that all chief-of-the-boat positions in the Pacific and Atlantic fleets are filled and that placing McVeigh in such a position would require the Navy "to displace another deserving service member who already has received orders into such a billet."

But Alec Farr, McVeigh's attorney, responded that McVeigh was "wrongfully displaced" from his chief-of-the-boat position on the Chicago "as a result of the Navy's illegal actions.

"Making him whole again must take precedent over other considerations. Moreover, because Mr. McVeigh was already in a COB (chief of the boat) billet, there is at least one service member currently serving in that capacity who would have not received those orders but for the Navy's wrongful actions in this case."

Farr, in his Feb. 18 letter to the Justice Department, said that if McVeigh had completed his tour on the Chicago, he would have been eligible for promotion to master chief petty officer and that the jobs the Navy is offering are "with limited or no personnel management and supervisory responsibilities" and are jobs McVeigh held eight years ago.

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