The JAG-like investigative commission, assigned by Navy Inspector Vice-Admiral Schimpf and headed by Rear-Admiral Dr.-Ing. Kolletschke and two high ranking German Navy advocates of the German DoD and the Naval Authority ("Marineamt") aboard SSS Gorch Fock, have run into difficulties in investigating the circumstances in the event of the death of a female sea-cadet who fell 27 m from the rigging onto the wooden planks and the adjacent railing of the German training sailing ship for prospective German Navy officers.
The former 12th commander of the SSS Gorch Fock, Full Captain ('KzS') Schatz, who had been relieved from duty by Adm Schimpf as precautionary measure, chose his privilege to remain silent on the issue, according to Bild's release today.
The XO, Cpt. Hey, has also remained silent so far, making the investigation of Adm Kolletschke's navy attorneys more difficult.
Well, it is nothing special in remaining silent but the impression, it has been creating, leaves a scent that would likely cause some vomiting to outsiders.
The presumption of innocence shall be honored, of course.
On the other hand, the former commander was very responsive to the press in the first place when he compared his being keen on climbing in the rigging with his childhood's climbing in cherry-trees versus 'sissy-like attitudes' of nowadays officers to-be who would rather like to sit on their butts in front of a computer screen.
What message shall this send to us?
Does he take responsibility for the woman's death or not? His career will be over, for sure, not because of choosing to remain silent -his right to do so - but due to his inherent responsibilities as first commander aboard SSS Gorch Fock.
Did he sleep spiritually while 'overseeing' the drill of his regular crew on the sea-cadets? Did he intentionally ignore navy regulations toward climbing in the rigging of untrained sailors without any prior experience to high altitudes on a sailing ship? Why did this carnival nonsense occur only some days after the incident? And the rumors about the brothel "George F***"?
Of course, the other officers and petty-officers might also try to keep their mouths shut.
BUT! One single witness, who gets an offer for a deal by the German 'JAG' advocates, can break the chain of silence, and then watershed will arrive, bringing more nasty issues to daylight.
Well guys, send in Cmdr Harmon Rabb and Lt Col. Mackenzie of the 'real JAG', and they solve the issue within 45 minutes, huh?
Some smart third degree ought to be applied on the lower ranks to get to the nitty-gritty.
Well, Captains Schatz and Hey, the commission will be now pulling off their gloves!
I don't believe that the German Navy has the intention to cover up the mess. The peace-time Commander-in-Chief, Defense Minister, Baron zu Guttenberg will put his post on the issue. He wants to see the whole dirt, believe me.