One of the Navy's top supply officers has been fired and rebuked for drunkenness and nudity that was fueled by hard drinking at a trade conference in Florida becoming the Navy's most senior officer removed from their post this year.
Rear Adm. David Baucom was removed from his job as the director of Strategy, Policy, Capabilities, and Logistics at U.S. Transportation Command in October after an investigation into his misbehavior in April while attending the National Defense Transportation Association's Transportation Advisory Board in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
On the night of April 7, Baucom attended a dinner with about 70 conference attendees and imbibed all or part of at least eight drinks,according to an investigation released by the Navy after inquiries from Navy Times.
Baucom, 56, became so intoxicated that he was unable to stand and had to be brought by a hotel employee back to his room. Later, he was discovered wandering naked through public areas of the hotel, seeking a towel to cover himself, the investigation found.
Baucom, 56, blames his mistake of mixing alcohol and prescription medications for his lewd behavior and asked that his 34-year career not be judged on a single incident.
"After extensive medical testing and diagnoses, four doctors have stated in writing that I most probably experienced an atrial fibrillation event the evening of April 8th which caused lightheadedness, disorientation, dizziness and confusion," Baucom said in a statement provided to Navy Times. "These symptoms may last up to 24 hours. I am now being treated for those symptoms and other medical conditions.
"I have served the Navy for more than 34 years and am proud of our institution. I deeply regret my actions caused discredit to the Navy I love."
After reading the investigation, TRANSCOM decided to remove Baucom from his joint billet. Baucom was transferred to Fleet Forces Command in October. Adm. Phil Davidson, the FFC boss, found Baucom guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer and disorderly conduct at a Nov. 20 admiral's mast.
The service opted to allow Baucom the opportunity to appeal his nonjudicial punishment before disclosing his removal and reprimand, the Navy's top spokeswoman said.
According to the investigation, Baucom was attending a meeting of defense transportation senior officers and executives as part of a TRANSCOM delegation.
Baucom allegedly drank at least part of a gin and tonic, two glasses of wine with dinner and a scotch after dinner at the bar. Then a group of attendees went to another bar at the center compound where he allegedly ordered four more scotch whiskeys over two hours.
During this time, at least one of his fellow attendees offered to take him back to his room, but he made clear he was not going back.
At several points in the evening, security camera footage shows Baucom stumbling, at one point hitting his head on a bar stool. At 1:30 a.m., a hotel employee drove Baucom to his room about half a mile away.
While in his room, Baucom took his clothes off, showered and got ready for the next day. He also took prescription medications, which can cause drowsiness and dizziness when mixed with alcohol. Baucom told investigators that he awoke in the night from a deep sleep and thought he was entering a bathroom, but was in fact exiting his room.
At around 5:45 a.m., he was observed walking around without clothes on, apparently disoriented and seeking a towel to cover up with.
Once he realized he had left his room, he knew he had to find a towel and get to the front desk to be let back in his room, he told investigators.
"I'm looking for something to cover up with," Baucom told investigators. "So I'm looking for just something, if I can find a spare towel anywhere or something laying around so I can get to the lobby, get a key, and get back to my room."
Baucom was ultimately discovered by one of his colleagues and let back into his room. When he returned to Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, where TRANSCOM's headquarters is located, he checked himself into the drug and alcohol treatment program, he told investigators. He was determined not to have alcohol dependence but has given up hard alcohol.
The IG, however, concluded that his actions were not excused by his mixing medications and that his behavior was more a result of intoxication.
"We 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," the report read.
by David Larter
December 8, 2015
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