At least 34 sailors are being kicked out of the Navy for their roles in a cheating ring at a nuclear submarine school outside Charleston. Meanwhile, another 10 are under criminal investigation.
The Associated Press reports that the scandal at the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek was more extensive than the Navy realized when it first revealed the cheating in February. The investigation centered on exams that senior sailors needed to pass in order to become instructors at the Nuclear Power Training Unit.
In all, 78 enlisted sailors were implicated. Investigators said the cheating appeared to have been happening for at least seven years but has only been discovered in a single unit and was not known by commanding officers. Adm. John Richardson, director of naval reactors. told the AP that 34 sailors were removed from the submarine program and administratively discharged from the Navy. Two more were punished for minimal involvement but will remain in the service. 32 other implicated students and staff were exonerated by Richardson.
However, an additional 10 sailors are now under criminal investigation. Adm. Richardson told the AP those 10 were “ringleaders,” who provided exam answers in advance to others taking the test and tipped the students off about which test would be given.
The investigation found that a master file of tests and answers was illegally taken from a computer prior to 2007. The file contained all five sets of tests that were rotated among students. Emails containing the answer keys were then circulated between students, along with a number denoting which test they would be given.
An unidentified officer was also given a verbal warning for “deficiencies” with oversight of the test. That officer was not identified and Richardson said investigators do not believe the officer knew about the cheating.