Excerpt from Youth Radio
By Charlie Foster
An assistant secretary of the Navy upheld the forced retirement of a senior chief accused of hazing junior sailors in a canine unit based in Bahrain.
The decision comes four years after a Navy investigation in which sailors claimed Michael Toussaint, a chief petty officer at the time, had acted as ringleader for a culture of abuse within the kennel between 2005 and 2006. Last February, Toussaint denied much of his alleged misconduct before a retirement review board that was convened months after he was censured by the Secretary of the Navy.
“Ultimately, MACS Toussaint’s conduct as the Leading Chief Petty Officer assigned to the Military Working Dog Division, Naval Security Forces, Bahrain, did not meet the standards expected of senior enlisted leadership in our Navy,” said Juan Garcia, assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower and reserve affairs.
Garcia followed the paygrade recommendation of the retirement board, which said Toussaint should receive an honorable discharge and a pension at his current rank. The board members cited insufficient evidence uncovered in the Navy’s hazing investigation and a 2009 tour of duty in Afghanistan during which he saved the life of a marine.
“[W]hen looking at his career in its entirety,” said Garcia, “I have determined that his conduct did not rise to a level sufficient to warrant retirement in a paygrade less than E-8.”