Battleland

Second Warship Commander Relieved in Growing Bribery Scandal

7th Fleet Captain Daniel Dusek linked to probe into prostitutes, kickbacks and luxury perks

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U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mark R. Alvarez/Released

Captain Daniel Dusek, commanding officer of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), gives a tour of Bonhomme Richard's medical bay to Burma naval officers

As if fiscal chaos in Washington and territorial disputes with China weren’t enough, U.S. naval commanders are now faced with an unprecedented — not to mention tabloid-ready — bribery scandal in the tense Asia-Pacific region.

This week, the Navy summarily relieved the commander of the Japan-based USS Bonhomme Richard in a growing investigation involving prostitutes, luxury travel and hundreds of millions of dollars in government contracts.

The former commander of another Japan-based U.S. warship — a refugee from the killing fields of Cambodia who recently made a triumphant return home — was arrested in the same case last month.

The developments are unprecedented, says Mike McDevitt, senior fellow at the Center for Naval Analysis and a retired Navy rear admiral.

“Commanding officers have been relieved because of professional lapses, poor judgment or simple incompetence. But being accused of sustained criminal behavior is unheard of — at least by me,” says McDevitt, who commanded a carrier battle group in the region in the 1990s.

Federal authorities last month charged Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz with directing warships in the Asia-Pacific region to ports where they were overcharged — in some cases, millions of dollars — for a wide range of services.

Also arrested were the president of the Singapore-based port services company, GDMA, and a supervisor for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

On Wednesday, the Navy announced that Capt. Daniel Dusek had been relieved of command of the USS Bonhomme Richard due to an ongoing Department of Justice investigation — a reference to the bribery case.  Although he has not been charged with a crime, “the investigation negatively affected Dusek’s leadership ability and was a distraction to the command mission,” according to a Navy statement.

The “Bonny Dick” is the flagship of the 7th Fleet’s amphibious assault group and recently returned from a summer-long cruise through East Asia and the Western Pacific.

The 7th Fleet is the Navy’s largest battle group based outside the United States and has been largely protected from budget cuts and civilian furloughs that have played havoc with much of the U.S. military this year. The ships routinely operate in waters where China’s increasingly powerful naval forces have been pressing territorial claims.

Misiewicz received a flurry of publicity in 2010 when he commanded the guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin on a goodwill mission to Cambodia. That came 37 years after Misiewicz, born Vannak Khem, fled the murderous Khmer Rouge regime as a child.  He was adopted by an American woman, raised in the Midwest and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy.

“I’ve been thinking about this visit a lot and thinking about all the emotions I will have to cope with about returning to the country I was born in and seeing relatives that have wanted to see me for so long,” Misiewicz said during that visit. “It is important for me to be strong and to remember and honor the sacrifices that were made for me.”

Misiewicz later became deputy operations officer aboard the 7th Fleet’s command ship, the USS Blue Ridge. According to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Diego, he used his position to direct warships to ports with lax oversight where GDMA was able to overcharge for food, water, fuel and services like waste removal, security and ground transportation.

Overcharges for port visits to Thailand alone in 2011 and 2012 amounted to $2.3 million, according to court records.

In exchange, Misiewicz received the use of prostitutes, luxury travel for himself and family members and, in one case, tickets to a Lady Gaga concert. In one email, the head of GDMA referred to one group of prostitutes in Thailand as his “Elite Thai Seal Team.”

McDevitt said that while the bribery case may be a distraction, it won’t affect the readiness of U.S. forces — particularly aboard Bonhomme Richard.

“Executive officers are screened for command before they go on the job, so it just means ‘Bonny Dick’ will have a new CO (commanding officer) sooner than expected,” he said. “And being the flagship for an admiral commanding the amphibious group — it also means the new CO can count on lots of help.”

44 comments
DolphRamey
DolphRamey

Navy officers look screwy in their blue camo outfits.  Who are they trying hide from, their own crew?  No quarter for this type of behavior, time to walk the plank.

lordofthefly
lordofthefly

What is it about these military high-up cheeses who think they won't get caught. After their big hero Petraeus got caught with his pants down (lucky for him after he retired from the military), you'd think these other guys would be cleaning up their acts.

Sabrina45959310
Sabrina45959310

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Mr.Jeffinator
Mr.Jeffinator

Silly captain!  Bribery is for politicians. 

horriblebob
horriblebob

Probably the ONLY Cambodian in the entire friggin' US Navy, and lookie here what happened.    Great representation,  Vannak Khem!

StevenDahl
StevenDahl

This ship, the USS Bon Homme Richard, was also the perpetrator of the Gulf of Tonkin Lie that our government used to start the Vietnam War. 

"Captain George Stephen Morrison (father of Doors singer Jim Morrison) was in command of local American forces from his flagship USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31)"

In 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded that:

"It is not simply that there is a different story as to what happened; it is that no attack happened that night."

jddouglas55
jddouglas55

In the past few years there has been a rash of the USN removing officers. It's a pretty bad state of affairs. I blame it on simple ethics where is pretty much vacant from an entire generation of people. It's the get what I can no matter what generation. 

PerryJohnson1
PerryJohnson1

This is normal for the US military.  Sex, drug, and alcohol are all paid for by taxpayers

zamaninja06
zamaninja06

He made his American mama proud GO NAVY!

LuXun
LuXun

Sailors and prostitutes are like bread and butter...this is Much Ado About Nothing!

manonatallhorse
manonatallhorse

I'm a Navy vet myself, but what this guy is accused of doing is out of our league

MrWhite
MrWhite

"Conservatives" always do this. They always give contracts to their golfing buddies.

blkshoe946
blkshoe946

Sailors and prostitutes have been buddies for centuries, so why all the fuss now days, shoot during my 20 years in the Navy with 9 westpac deployments, I spent a large percentage of my salary on hookers. This ain't nothing but cheap media hype

MarkSweetipo
MarkSweetipo

Another Baby Boomer leadership success story.

mikedesertdog1
mikedesertdog1

He stabs in the back the country that gave him everything.....Lowest of the low....

CDS5140
CDS5140

I wouldn't mind if entire “Elite Thai Seal Team" is on 7th fleet. That way we will have luxury cruise ships up in Asia. Also, this will help Navy fund their projects after Government shutdown. Bravo commander, great job!

horsley1953
horsley1953

With the government shut down, who is doing these investigations and issuing the orders to fire these officers?

blsessex
blsessex

Japan has the highest number of sh!tbag sailors in the Navy. I've never seen anything like it. I also served in the europe region and saw the east coast of the US and the sailors there are all generally squared away.

It's almost as if the asia-pacific region is a magnet for degenerate, trashy sailors.

andrew.womeldas
andrew.womeldas

this guy let 4 guys off restriction early after they killed another sailor smushing him with the NATO missle launcher during maintenance.  chose not to have a safety observer

andrew.womeldas
andrew.womeldas

that is my old XO he helped get me pushed out of the navy early LOL

EdReed
EdReed

Put these treacherous scum into a cannon of one of our old battleships and fire it for the fourth of July.  Traitors should be executed as they willingly put all our lives at risk.

Fliesonfrank
Fliesonfrank

@lordofthefly I think it's just so prevalent at every level the truth just needs to come out. Remember, our tax dollars are spent to provide these excesses but there's no money for the nutrition programs in public schools...In every business, it's the person at the top who "sets the tone" for EVERYONE who works there. This implies that they must live a life above reproach...

hulu104
hulu104

@StevenDahl Not the same ship.  The Vietnam era Bon Homme Richard (Essex-class carrier) was scrapped in 1992.  The current Bon Homme Richard is a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship that was commissioned in 1998.

caat0369
caat0369

@PerryJohnson1 Thanks for keeping up to speed on the current status of the armed forces.  I'm sure you have a lot of experience and first hand knowledge with which to make such assertions.  Personally, upon hearing your comment, I feel cheated!  After 13 years in the USMC, no one provided me with any of that!

LatufTak
LatufTak

@blkshoe946 - No problem you spending YOUR money on hookers, but not ours (the US Taxpayers).

jddouglas55
jddouglas55

Perfect exactly what I indicated!!!!  Give me, give me, give me, wait I have to work!!!! An entire generations!

jddouglas55
jddouglas55

Where did you get this information? The Japanese, when I was involved in the USN, were in order way more than our side. 

harte.ryan
harte.ryan

@blsessex But thanks for disrespecting my years of service over there by calling me a trashy degenerate.

harte.ryan
harte.ryan

@blsessex The west coast that pacific fleet have always been a little more relaxed, being so far away from D.C.

jddouglas55
jddouglas55

Jeesh wonder what you did, or didn't do!

Openminded1
Openminded1

@Lavira76 moron try craigs list, you do not have a chance to sell anything on here,

Tom2020
Tom2020

@harte.ryan @blsessex As a former sailor myself, I would say blsessex was being kind.  Just because you serve in the military doesn't mean you're an upstanding citizen, or should be praised at every turn just because you used to put on a uniform. It was a friggin job, just like everybody else has to do. A job for which you will get bennies for the rest of your life, even if it's just VA home loans or free food on veteran's day. You get enough (probably undeserved) "respect".

blsessex
blsessex

@harte.ryan I wouldn't call what people were doing over there, "serving". It was more like "parasite-ing" , as in the vast majority of the sailors there were overpaid parasites gorging on taxpayer money.


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