Senior Chief Master-at-Arms Michael Toussaint had an anniversary of sorts Feb. 5: It marked one year since his Retirement Grade Determination Board met in Norfolk, Va., to decide which grade he would take into forced retirement after having his re-enlistment request denied by Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of naval operations, and being censured by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in the fall of 2009 over alleged abusive leadership practiced while serving as the top sailor at Bahrain’s military dog division in 2005 and 2006. Yet Toussaint, who passed the 20-year mark for retirement eligibility in January 2010, a couple of weeks before the board met, has hung on for more 12 months.
The Navy will say only that the three-member Norfolk board’s grade recommendation to allow Toussaint to retire as a senior chief “is still being reviewed.” It won’t say where the review stands in that process. Or whether it has reached the desk of Juan Garcia, assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower and reserve affairs, who is the “final adjudicating authority” for such cases, according to Lt. Justin Cole, a Navy spokesman.
That’s the same thing the Navy told us in November.
Toussaint’s case sounds sensational. And given the actions Roughead and Mabus have already taken, some sort of discipline would appear on its face to be a given. A 2007 command investigation uncovered more than 90 instances of gambling, consorting with prostitutes, hazing and abuse of junior sailors took place on the 2004-2006 watch of the former military dog kennel chief in Bahrain.
He and his lawyers denied the most serious claims at the two-day determination board hearing, however, with Toussaint telling the board that his other actions had been misconstrued, the Virginian-Pilot newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, Toussaint remains in uniform — assigned to the ultra-secretive Naval Special Warfare Development Group, headquartered at Oceana Naval Air Station’s Dam Neck Annex.