A two-star U.S. admiral has been reprimanded for an incident of public drunkenness and nudity at a Florida trade conference earlier this year.
The Navy announced today that Rear Adm. David Baucom had received non-judicial punishment from the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command in the form of a punitive letter of reprimand permanently filed in his official record.
Baucom was found guilty of violations of conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman and disorderly conduct-drunkenness under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“Baucom demonstrated poor judgment in his excessive use of alcohol and his resulting personal conduct was not up to the standard expected of all U. S. Navy Sailors,” said Rear Admiral Dawn Cutler, Navy Chief of Information. “The Navy is committed to holding personnel, regardless of rank or position, accountable for their actions and preserving good order and discipline.”
On the night of April 7, Baucom was in Pontevedra Beach, Florida, attending a trade conference in his role as the director, Strategy, Capabilities, Policy and Logistics, U.S. Transportation Command.
An investigation by the Navy’s Inspector General determined that following a welcoming dinner at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, Baucom became so intoxicated that he was unable to stand. He hit his head on a barstool, appeared to have wet his pants and had to be helped to his hotel room by a staffer.
After awaking in the early morning hours, Baucom thought he had reached for the door of his bathroom, but had accidentally locked himself out of his room. A naked Baucom was spotted by some hotel guests wandering the hotel grounds in search of a towel with which to cover himself. He was eventually helped back to his hotel room by one of his co-workers, but not before the hotel guests had reported him to hotel security.
Baucom told investigators that prescription heart medications he was taking at the time exacerbated his drunken condition.
According to a copy of the Navy Inspector General’s investigation, investigators found that circumstance did not excuse his behavior: “We do not dispute that they may have made him dizzy or drowsy. We determined, however, that dizziness or drowsiness are not relevant to our analysis of whether RADM Baucom was drunk or disorderly.”
In a response to investigators, Baucom wrote, “This behavior is definitely out of character for me and I knew it immediately – I was shocked, concerned and worried.”
Baucom said that when he returned to his base he enrolled in the Air Force Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program and has regularly attended counseling sessions. “The counselor determined that I do not have a propensity for an alcohol or drug disorder: I do not abuse alcohol or drugs and I am not addicted to alcohol or drugs,” he wrote.
“This is the only event of this nature since I became a midshipman 38 years ago,” he wrote. “I feel horrible. This event is both professionally and personally embarrassing and I sincerely apologize for my behavior.”
But investigators determined “that RADM Baucom’s level of intoxication and his public nudity are of such a nature that they dishonored or disgraced him personally and seriously compromised his standing as an officer.”
In October, Baucom was removed from his position at U.S. Transportation Command and is assigned to a job at the Pentagon.