The Navy announced today that 34 sailors will involuntarily separate from the Navy for their part in a massive cheating ring that apparently flew under the radar of the military for the last seven years. The cheating scandal was first uncovered in February of this year.
The investigation was launched when sailors at the Goose Creek nuclear training center near Charleston, South Carolina, were discovered cheating on nuclear qualification exams. The students were preparing for service in nuclear reactors onboard Navy nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines. The Navy insists that none of the instructors or students involved in the scandal were actually involved in handling nuclear weapons.
Although the cheating is believed to have been confined to a single unit at Charleston and apparently was not known to commanding officers, the misconduct had been happening since at least 2007, according to Adm. John M. Richardson, director of naval reactors. The exact start of the cheating was not pinpointed.
The Navy determined that a total of 78 enlisted sailors were implicated, a relatively small group that managed to hide the cheating scheme for several years. Thirty-two other sailors who where initially implicated have been exonerated.
The Goose Creek cheating scandal came to light shortly after the Malmstrom Air Force Base exam-cheating scandal was uncovered in January. Malmstrom is one of three Air Force bases that maintains and operates intercontinental ballistic nuclear weapons from a large base in Montana. Just under one-hundred Airmen were implicated in the Air Force scandal.
The Navy’s Criminal Investigative Service says they still have ten sailors under investigation. Those implicated in the cheating scandal are both the sailors who cheated on the test and the sailors who enabled the cheating by providing test answers in advance.