NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The ex-commander of a Maryland squadron that flies Navy leaders in corporate-style jets was fired after she acknowledged she lied on records that said an evaluator was on hand during flight simulator training, an investigative report obtained by The Associated Press shows.
Cmdr. Corrine Parker was removed in April and reassigned to Naval Air Facility Washington at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
The Navy report obtained through the Freedom of Information Act says Parker wrote that she was under pressure to get a certification done before picking up passengers from Hawaii following a Pearl Harbor 70th anniversary commemoration.
Parker's ex-squadron is responsible for transporting the Navy secretary, chief of naval operations and commandant of the Marine Corps, among others. All names but Parker's were redacted from the report by Navy lawyers, who cited security, privacy and law enforcement concerns.
Parker's route back from Hawaii included stops at a Navy air station near San Diego, in Norfolk and eventually back to the squadron's home at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
In a detailed statement, Parker said the evaluator's flight had been delayed and he couldn't make it in time, so she took the training without him there. However, she signed off on documents saying that the instructor pilot was there for that simulation and others.
Parker wrote that she never intended to shirk any responsibility for her actions or bypass any requirement.
"I know what I did was wrong, but I take issue with any suggestion that safety was compromised during or after this sequence of events. We performed all of the maneuvers safely and we followed all of the proper checklists and procedures for all of the trainers we flew," she wrote. "I have flown subsequent missions with no issues whatsoever."
Capt. Eric Petersen, deputy commander of Naval Air Forces Reserve in San Diego, said Parker was removed in accordance with military procedure and the Navy is trying to determine what her future is. He declined to comment further than what was in the report.
Parker wrote that doing another simulation would likely involve a delay of a month or more and she had to be in Hawaii in two days. She said her judgment was clouded by the events of the week leading up to lying on the paperwork.
Parker wrote that included trying to overcome multiple obstacles to get senior leaders to their destinations for the Pearl Harbor event. That trip involved stops at Andrews, Norfolk and near San Diego. She wrote that her staff had "countless, anxious inquiries" from one Navy leader's staff asking for status reports and reiterating the importance of his arrival in Hawaii.
"The swirl of events surrounding (redacted's) trip to Hawaii, the need to induct (redacted) into depot maintenance in order to keep it on track for (redacted's) upcoming trips, and my own impending mission two days later made it seem unnecessary to upend schedules and use more resources to conduct an event I had essentially already completed," she wrote. "I realize now that that decision was wrong, and I take full responsibility."
The unnamed Navy investigator assigned to the case wrote that Parker and others involved in the case didn't try to cover up their mistake.
"All of the accused officers freely admitted their guilt and acknowledged it was very poor headwork and each expressed regret in their actions," the investigator wrote.
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