Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Intriguing Story Gets Stranger: Part III - Two Albuquerque Deserters

The Strange Case of FT3 Ariel J. Weinmann (USS Albuquerque deserter) just got stranger: The first count alleged that in March 2005, Weinmann attempted to communicate classified information relating to national defense to a representative of an unidentified foreign government.

Enlisted July, 2003
Finished sub school October, 2004
Deployed on
USS Albuquerque (SSN-706)
Deserted submarine in July 2005
Picked up at the DFWI Airport March 26, 2006
Held in secret at Norfolk brig for 4 months (until late July 2006) source
Will face court-martial in November

From Part I - Most Intriguing Story: biographical information "at the classified level." posted August 14, 2006 - here Molten Eagle predicted:

Expect disciplinary actions against more than one of the then Albuquerque crew.

Then, in Part II - "Weinmann Submarine Espionage: Unraveling a Mystery" posted September 12, 2006 - here Molten Eagle asked readers:

2- Which countries would be 'worst case' nightmares for the U.S. in the Weinmann case?

Now: Following his Sept. 21 general court-martial in Groton, Conn. Lt. Robert J. Loomis III pleaded guilty to desertion with intention to avoid hazardous duty and dereliction of duty.

Commissioned in December 2001 (ROTC - University of Michigan)
Spent almost 3 years aboard USS Albuquerque SSN-706 (est. 2002-5)
Reported for Groton instructor duty in Target Motion Analysis (in 2005)
----Loomis timeline after PO3 Weinmann was picked up after his desertion:
Selected individual augmentee (IA) for duty in Afghanistan June 26, 2006
On July 6, Loomis failed to report and was placed in an unauthorized absence status.
On July 8, Loomis turned himself in to the Naval Submarine School in Groton
----Loomis key event after Weinmann "held in secret" story broke
Court-martial Sept. 2006 source

So, Molten Eagle asks rhetorically:
Could there have been any relationship between Loomis' and Weinmann's "desertions"? They seemed to have barely overlapped on the USS Albuquerque (during 2005). Was Lt. Loomis Albuquerque's Weapons Officer with Weinmann in his division? Was Lt. Loomis the source of the sensitive biographical information Weinmann secreted to a foreign government?

If not, Loomis' desertion is yet another black eye for the modern submarine service. The Navy's Lt j.g. Karl Lettow said Loomis is believed to be the only one [sailor who had failed to report for or deserted from PRT duty]. Astute readers will find links above that could suggest an entirely undisclosed motive.

Please, no one pretending to be from Albuquerque's crew should bother posting a comment. Crews remain under strict orders of silence in such matters.

By the way, the public blood letting is probably over, but someone higher up has probably been encouraged to leave the navy early by now. Just a few thoughts, because submarines are always silent and strange.


At 04 October, 2006 11:18, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have to admit I don't understand the idea of putting a sub officer in a ground combat situation. Even worse a former weapons officer. Why put a guy with that kind of knowledge and security clearance in a place he could get snatched.
Yes, I know it is voluntary and we need USN guys on shore, but I suspect there are plenty of volunteers, 3 months at sea as a deck ape on a carrier will have you desiring a shore billet.

At 04 October, 2006 15:58, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone with half a brain can figure out that the only motive that this guy had for going UA was to not go into a combat zone. It doesn't take a nuclear engineer to figure that out. The fact that he turned himself in and fessed up so quickly should be proof enough.

And good point about the stupidity of placing someone like him, with his knowledge and clearance (probably TS/SSBI with crypto knowledge as well) in a combat zone where the modus operandi of the enemy is kidnapping. Great thinking on the part of the brass.

I think that any connection between Loomis and Weinman that anyone tries to make is stretching things, and the fact that the two were from the same boat is purely coincidental.

At 04 October, 2006 16:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sonarman, how many U.S. soldiers to date have refused or protested fighting their fellow Muslims? What's that about half a brain?
Mr. Madura

At 04 October, 2006 20:48, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, anonymous (Mr. Madura?), I wasn't trying to insult anyone's intelligence, here. Take a chill pill, will ya? I was just trying to make an obvious point. Which is that lots of guys go UA/AWOL to avoid hazardous duty/combat --- and also that I didn't think in this case it had anything to do with the fact that both sailors came off the same submarine and had served aboard at the same time.

And who said anything about "fighting their fellow Muslims"? Me thinks thou doth protesteth too much.

At 04 October, 2006 22:31, Blogger Vigilis said...

SonarMan (Chap, I think?), thanks for your feddback.

Mr. Madura (MadDog), he's right you know; let's not jump to false conclusions. You're right, it is a possibility, but I have seen no convincing evidence yet claiming Lt. Loomis and FT3 Weinmann are Muslims. -Vigilis

At 05 October, 2006 15:53, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work with a gentleman who taught Loomis at Naval Submarine School when he went through SOBC (Submarine Officer Basic Course). According to my coworker, Loomis was a whiner, but so aren't many J.O.s., especially sub J.O.s.

Now, keep in mind that when Loomis came in this was a short time after Sept. 11. Many guys came into the Navy, wanting to do their part for their country, but not necessarily wanting to get into ground combat. This I know, because I taught some of these young men at Submarine School before I retired, and shortly after as a civilian instructor, and they told me as much. Perhaps this was Loomis' reason for joining, and here he is five years later, getting tagged to do the very thing he didn't sign up for. In my 20 years in the service, I have seen guys do anything to get out of doing something they really don't want to do, and they usually do it, get it over with quick, and turn themselves in - like Loomis did.

I speculate that if Loomis had never been selected as an IA, he'd still be teaching tactics at Sub School, thinking about a Department Head slot at a choice duty station. I don't think it had anything to do with the Weinman espionage case or fighting "fellow Muslims".

Oh, and I'm not Chap, by the way. I'm just a former STS1(SS)...

At 05 October, 2006 16:51, Blogger Vigilis said...

sonarman, we are not at odds over Lt. Loomis's possible motivations. I am open-minded about both yours and Mr. Madura's (not angry with me, are you MadDog?).

Mr. Madura believes the "sensitive biographical data" Weinmann allegedly copied contained the names of submariners of a certain religious faith. The DoD might never publicize that, however, would they?

The fact that Loomis's confession sullies the esprit of the entire submarine service (Weinmann was bad enough) is a poor but convenient way to discipline the officer who "allowed" Weinmann the extraordinary data access. What would be his motivation for that?

You have heard of cover stories, haven't you? By the way, I believe Chap was an ST1(SS), too.

Regarding fear of combat, just what kind of 'female' leadership has the navy been recruiting for submarines. Very hard to believe a cowardly officer would make it to Lt. on a submarine. No parachutes, you know.

At 05 October, 2006 19:08, Blogger Chap said...

Me? Active duty O gang, and I only took one shower today. (Although my sonarmen were tougher than any other ones on the waterfront and brooked no truck--gotta be tough when all you have is a Helen Keller sonar suite in a high contact density ARCI world!)

The comment about "clearance" is considering the problem from a soda straw viewpoint. It's a big world out there and there are lots of people with different kinds of clearances. In theater you need people with those clearances, because there are lots of interesting things to do. The last couple of times I volunteered for an IA, the IA guy wanted me particularly because of the clearance--but intervening commands didn't want to let the body go at the time, so I wound up at a desk in Nebraska.

There are differing levels of risk between a fobbit and a guy doing patrols every night; 1120s are doing good work in provincial reconstruction teams and staffie jobs, mostly. Over the years I've learned that a submariner out of his element tends to shine wherever you put him, and a submariner that sees the rest of the world is more valuable.

At 05 October, 2006 21:28, Blogger Vigilis said...

Chap, okay, but thought you had me pegged in an auxillary berth on your great graphic. Guess we were both wrong.

Regarding your "Over the years" generalization, I totally agree with you with ample evidence of outstanding men. As far as the former president, however, he seems to have proven one of Murphy's sad corollary's.

Thanks for dropping by and clarifying.

At 08 October, 2006 20:51, Blogger Chap said...

Hey, you had to sleep somewhere... I forget, who'd I put in the TDU room?

At 09 October, 2006 01:27, Blogger Vigilis said...

"Our ship had a garbage disposal—not a grind-up garbage disposal, just a torpedo tube. And I invented it. It was, in fact, not a full-size torpedo tube. It was a tube that went down from the main operating interior deck through the bottom of the submarine. We had a big, strong valve on top that could take anything the submarine could take and one on the bottom likewise. Then we closed the top valve, opened the bottom valve, and started a pump. What happened to the garbage? It went out the bottom."
- the late Captain Edward L. Beach Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired). here:

At 11 October, 2006 11:02, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You all should waste your time doing better things that speculating about and judging other people and their actions. I think that what you wrote in this blog obviously shows that you have nothing better to do with your life that worry about criticizing other people.

Unless you know the specific circumstances for the occurrance (which I suspect that you don't), you shouldn't pass judgement on other people and especially to make unvalid presumptions.

Remember that you should always judge others the way that you would want someone to judge yourself and I suspect that you probably wouldn't want someone spreading bad words about you on the internet, so why say bad things about this man whom you don't even know???

At 12 October, 2006 11:34, Blogger Vigilis said...

anonymous author of prior comment, your words indicate how you betray yourself:

You have commented on something you obviously did not bother to read fully or take the time to understand. You claim exculpatory knowledge that you do not share.

We have a very brief submariners' hymn for muslims just like you.

At 02 November, 2006 19:55, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a former member of the albuquerque crew, i knew both of these gentlemen. i am positive that these events had absolutely nothting to do with each other. weinman deserves what he gets, and loomis was a really cool guy that had his judgement clouded by some other issues. i know that he regrets his decision and i wish him the best. you cant say that you wouldnt be a little scared coming from one of the safest places in the military to afganistan.

At 03 November, 2006 12:55, Blogger Vigilis said...

anonymous author of prior comment: You are a pretender rather than a qualified submariner.

You betrayed yourself with this: "you cant say that you wouldnt be a little scared coming from one of the safest places in the military to afganistan." On the contrary, I can say that because submarining (contrary to current myth and whatever you have been smoking) is no safer than being in Afghanistan, unless you are a SEAL.

If you were a SEAL, or any other passenger on a submarine, I am not surprised by your taking safety for granted since your knowledge of the hazards, responsibilities and training for submarine service would be minimal. SEALs are not bashful, cowardly, anonymous types, however, so you are definitely not one.

Moreover, a submariner who would claim submarining is relatively safe, is a weak point among the submarine crew. Nice try, female (or feminized) poseur. You understand too little of what you speak.

At 24 November, 2006 12:05, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The absolute secrecy this man is being held in is unprecedented when it comes to spy charges. The reason for this secrecy is not national security as much as it will reveal who is the benefactor of the spy's efforts. In time it will be revealed that Israel is the nation who bought the secrets from the Spy. Israel has a long history of spying on the US. Last year it was revealed that members of an Israeli lobbying(APAIC)group on capitol hill were involved in spying on the US. That too has been mostly covered up by the Administration of Bush. When it comes to Israel this government will do anything to keep from embarassing our so called friend. With friends like the Israel who need enemies?

At 24 November, 2006 19:50, Blogger Vigilis said...

Anonymous, the only problem with your theory is that when the U.S. has imprisoned Israel espionage agents in the past, the U.S. has publicized same. Currently, there is a high-profile Israeli spy in U.S. detention that Israel has not been able to repatriate in the last 5 administrations.

Sorry, your theory holds no water, but your input is certainly appreciated here.


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