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News Shorts II

Clinton Nominates First African-American Four-Star Admiral

The Washington Post

President Clinton Monday nominated Vice Admiral J. Paul Reason to be the Navy's first African-American four-star admiral.

Clinton's nomination means the Navy could get its first African-American four-star officer 21 years after the Air Force and 14 years after the Army. Reason's promotion would give him the rank of admiral and the job of commander of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk.

Monday, Clinton also nominated Navy Rear Admiral Patricia A. Tracey, 45, to be the second female three-star officer in any service. Two months ago Marine Corps Lieutenant General Carol Mutter became the first when she was named deputy chief of staff for Marine manpower.

Reason, 55, a 6-foot-5 210-pounder known as a "gentle giant" by some Navy colleagues, is the son of educators - his mother was a biology teacher at Cardozo High School in Washington D.C. for 30 years, and his father was director of libraries at Howard University. He grew up in Brookland in Northeast Washington.

Reason was turned down for an ROTC appointment while he was a senior at McKinley Technical High School. He soon learned why he lost out, when a white naval officer visited his parents' home to say he'd scored number two out of 300 on ROTC entrance tests. The southern ROTC officials, Reason recalls the officer telling him, "weren't ready for an African-American naval ROTC midshipman."

Naval Academy To Intensify Screening To Weed Out Criminals

The Washington Post

U.S. Naval Academy officials said Monday in Annapolis they will intensify their admissions screening to weed out potential criminals, after weathering an embarrassing string of student arrests this spring.

They also plan to hire an independent analyst to survey the military college's 4,000 midshipmen on "quality of life" issues.

Those two plans were the most concrete proposals to come out of a special eight-hour, closed-door meeting with the academy's civilian advisory board, which was called Monday to address questions about the academy's direction in a season of scandals.

"The jury is out" on whether the Naval Academy suffers serious systemic problems, said retired Rear Admiral Benjamin Montoya, the chairman of the school's Board of Visitors.

Montoya said the board would conduct a summer-long review of the academy's recent problems and its new programs designed to combat cynicism and ethics problems among the student body.

He said that the academy's superintendent, Admiral Charles R. Larson, "has a good handle on what needs to be done at the academy."

The Board of Visitors is appointed by the president and congressional leaders and includes members of Congress, retired admirals and private citizens. It advises government and military officials on the running of the academy but has no governing powers.

Two years after trying to bounce back from a massive cheating scandal, the Naval Academy was embarrassed again in April by the arrests of several students on charges of sexual assault, a car theft conspiracy and breaking and entering. Last fall, the academy revealed it had charged 24 students with drug use and distribution.