Lieutenant David Nartker must be Court-Martialed

By Ray Starmann


In January, two US Navy high speed Riverine boats were apparently underway from Bahrain to Kuwait when they strayed into Iranian waters, while attempting to contact a vessel to refuel. The Pentagon first said that they had engine trouble. Yet, if that was the case, why didn’t the other boat tow the boat with mechanical problems to international waters and safety?

Then, the Pentagon said that they had navigational issues. How is this possible in 2016, with each boat having an array of GPS and radar equipment? Even if one boat’s systems completely shut down, couldn’t they rely on the other boat’s GPS or radar?

Somewhere during this time, the Americans strayed into Iranian waters near Farsi Island.

Lieutenant David Nartker, commanding officer of the two US Navy Riverine boats, surrendered his men and his craft with superior firepower to a half dozen Iranian thugs in bass boats that looked like they belonged on Babe Winkelman’s fishing show. Nartker surrendered without firing so much as a flare. After boarding the Navy boats, Nartker and his men were ordered down on their knees while the Iranians trained machine guns and cameras on them.

Nartker doubled and tripled and quadrupled down on his disgraceful conduct by apologizing to the Iranians for a worldwide TV audience.

“It was a mistake. That was our fault and we apologize for our mistake,” Nartker said in the video. “It was a misunderstanding. We did not mean to go into Iranian territorial water. The Iranian behavior was fantastic while we were here. We thank you very much for your hospitality and your assistance.”


To add insult to injury, one of his men felt it was an opportune time to start bawling his head off like he was a guest on Oprah, letting the Iranians and everyone on the planet know that US Navy sailors are complete wimps. In an earlier Navy, a keen eyed Chief would’ve have put an end to that disgraceful behavior by muttering under his breath that if the young sailor didn’t stop crying, he was going to find himself at the receiving end of the Chief’s fist.

Have no doubt, Lieutenant Nartker’s first action, to surrender his boats and personnel without offering any resistance is a violation of the US Military’s Code of Conduct, Article II, which states,

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

Nartker’s appearance on the video and his subsequent conduct during the interview were a blatant violation of Article V of the Code of Conduct, which 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.

As of now, the public has never been told what actually happened in the Persian Gulf.  The Pentagon has done a good job of hushing up and cubby-holing the disgraceful conduct of the US Navy in the Persian Gulf last January. After a couple weeks of news coverage, the story disappeared like a fishing trawler in a Bermuda Triangle gale.

Smoke and Mirrors is job one at the Pentagon.

The conduct of Lieutenant Nartker and his men (and one woman) speaks volumes about the decaying state of the US Navy in 2016. And, I’m not talking about all the budgetary and readiness issues the Navy has. That is another disaster entirely.

Lieutenant David Nartker should be court martialed. Nartker may not be in violation of Article II, as he may have been ordered by some feather merchant echelons above God to surrender.

But, Nartker is certainly in violation of Article V. If found guilty of violating at least Article V of the US Military Code of Conduct, Lieutenant David Nartker should be given a dishonorable discharge and tossed out of the Navy.

In response to the disgraceful conduct of Nartker and his men, the Navy laid out a huge smokescreen. Cmdr. John Schofield, said that specialized fleet training, such as that regarding capture, depends on fleet warfare designations.

“Training for those specific designations does not take place at commissioning accession sources like the Naval Academy,” he said. “The Naval Academy trains and educates all of its students morally, mentally and physically to become officers of character and consequence.”

I’m sure Mr. Nartker learned about the code of conduct at Annapolis and at Surface Warfare School as an Ensign. Commander Schofield’s comments are genuine Grade A horse dung.

Nartker must be brought up on charges to show the world the US Navy will not tolerate cowardice and more importantly, to show the enlisted personnel of the US Navy that their senior leaders will not tolerate junior officers who are cowards. The enlisted personnel in the US Navy must know that their officers have the courage to lead them into battle. Enlisted people will tolerate a lot of behavior from officers, but they will not countenance people leading them who lack intestinal fortitude.

Nartker should be cashiered before he gets someone killed. He obviously doesn’t have the chops to be a surface warfare officer or any kind of officer in the US Navy.

Moreover, our enemies must know that the US Navy does not tolerate incompetent officers and cowardly officers.

The US military is in crisis mode. David Nartker’s lack of bravado is atypical of the death of the American warrior under Obama. The warrior spirit of the US military is being flushed down the drain and with it 240 years of glorious heroics.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter may be able to stow Nartker away from the public and John McCain’s radar sweep, but he can’t hide the Navy’s incompetence and cowardice from the enemies of this nation.

Lieutenant David Nartker is the poster boy for the new Navy.

We are weak and the bad guys damned well know it.

4 comments on “Lieutenant David Nartker must be Court-Martialed
  1. Cowardice in the face of the enemy. The whole performance by all of the members of the crew was disgraceful. They should all face court-martial.

  2. This was a deliberate stop by this boat and crew to transfer technology, likely nuclear, to Iran. Not all crew were navy. It was part of the nuclear deal. We give Iran over a billion $ and some nuclear secrets.

  3. Thinking of my own time leading small boat detachments, why were they there initially? Was no one paying attention? They now even have GPS. There were two boats, so one could have towed the other. Back in my Old Navy even if I was leading LCM-8 landing craft without radar, I would have had a chart and noted danger bearings. Maybe they should have apologized, but I doubt it?

    Could it be the Iranians have a different definition of territorial waters to which they want this Administration and our Navy to subscribe? That seems more likely. In that regard, my commanding officer would have selected a course that should have brought the boats in sight of the friendly shore at least by the latitude of that Iranian island.

    Finally how could the Navy lose track of these boats? Why were the crews not initiating contact? Why wasn’t communication established with the refueling ship before the boats left port? During an amphibious exercise my wave of assault boats were swallowed by a fog. When I saw that fog coming I made sure the flag ship could vector us back to our LPD. The frequencies were always up and had been tested before the operation began.

    This event directs my memory back to the Cold War involving China as well as the Soviet Union. Navy ships stationed in Yokosuka Japan ”patrolled” through the Taiwan Straits as they transited to and from Vietnam. Our captain told us that if any Chinese ship tried to intercept us we would fight. The prospect was not that exciting because our heaviest armament were three dual 3in50cal anti-aircraft mounts. But the Pueblo incident was on everyone’s mind and that was going to be our response.

    As far as I am concerned everything we have been told by this Administration and their Navy acolytes is a lie. Along with Lt. Nartker I would line up a lot of other people for court martial.

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