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“Okay!” I blurted out. “I was never in a relationship with my husband. We did it so we’d have the money to get an apartment! I can’t lie anymore. I can’t play this game.”

“You’re not a good liar,” Brown said, with a sympathetic smile.

I broke down in tears, feeling pathetic and weak. I spilled my guts about myself, my marriage, and my white-trash past. I was scared and naïve. I even answered overly personal questions, such as “Do you still believe that your marriage was legal when you never had sex with your husband?” I began telling them whatever they wanted to hear so I could escape that interrogation room.

“Girl, I’m not worried about you,” Brown said, smiling again. “Yeah, you’re in trouble. You’re in big trouble. But look at how far you’ve come.” She reminded me that I had my whole life ahead of me.

“From the path you were going, you should have been lying in a gutter somewhere, but here you are now, in the Navy and on track. You’re going to be fine.”

In a way, Darnita Brown broke me down and built me up. I can’t say that I ever hated her or NCIS. We all had a job to do.

They took my mug shot, got my fingerprints, and said that I was a criminal for embezzling $31,025.10 with my “arranged marriage.” For the next five months, I was under an extreme amount of stress. Before this, the most legal trouble I’d had was a speeding ticket. I developed migraines, and I became afraid of spending money. I hardly left my apartment. My old reality seemed like a distant memory. I felt backstabbed, unsure of who had begun this investigation. During those few months, I was constantly paranoid, jumping every time my phone rang. It seemed as if I was always being watched. I honestly felt that I had done nothing wrong. The only requirements for BAH were a valid marriage certificate and spousal support. I had all of that. I had everything.

I also had a raging resentment toward the Navy’s hypocrisy. I thought about all the cheaters I saw on my ship. I remembered two officers that had been caught having sex during a deployment. Their only punishment was transfer to another command. Both were married with children. Both were supposed to be leaders, examples for the enlisted. I even worked for a guy who raped a college girl. She had medical evidence of anal tearing, but the Navy never pursued the case, supposedly because there was no evidence of forced sex. Yet they could prove that I never loved my husband. I didn’t hurt anyone, lie to anyone, and I followed the rules. There were no requirements to feel a certain emotion for your spouse.

I wrote in my statement to NCIS, “We were two close friends who committed to a marriage that was not so much for romance but for convenience. I understand that our marriage was legal in the State of California but not appropriate for Navy standards. I did not believe that I was committing any type of fraud.”

Suzanne Lachelier is the Navy lawyer who handled my case. She has since moved to Washington D.C. In mid-January I called her to say I was finally out of the military.

“Good!” she said. “I’m glad it all worked out for you.”

She was assigned to my case after my interrogation. I was skeptical about her at first because she was a Navy lawyer. It didn’t make sense for the same system prosecuting me to be defending me, too. But I quickly liked her and felt comfortable around her. A dirty blonde, fair-skinned woman in her early 30s, she represents what I strive to be: successful with a career. She’s an intelligent woman, who searched the Navy’s rules and regulations for ways to help me escape. It turned out that not everyone in the federal government was trying to screw me over.

She had dealt with two BAH fraud cases about ten years earlier, but both marriages had fake certificates. Mine was valid. Lachelier thought no one could be punished for marrying for a particular reason.

“I never thought the Navy would get into that,” she said.

The military has never officially defined marriage. There are no written rules.

“If you had researched the Navy rules before you got married, it actually would have been more reason for you to get married for BAH,” Lachelier said. “There were no rules to break.”

She told me that my command initiated my case.

“Why do you think they were pushing so hard to prosecute me?” I asked.

“Well, you being a woman may have something to do with it, because most women are more emotional toward marriage. Also, you’re outspoken and articulate. That can be intimidating, especially in the military. But I think it was mostly for moralistic purposes. They probably felt what you did was wrong and wanted your punishment to be an example to other military members.”

The Navy will make an example of you when you mess up! I remembered officers constantly telling me that.

“They were trying to prosecute you for marrying for financial purposes, but they are the ones who are putting a price on marriage,” Lachelier said.

Lachelier got my fraud charges dropped. I walked away with reduction in rank and had to pay a fine of about $4000, plus get lectured about committing fraud. My life was not ruined. Although my superiors did not treat me as if my charges were dropped, I left the Navy with an honorable discharge at the end of my enlistment.


With the war in Iraq, military members are faced with incredible stress. I witnessed a lot of broken marriages. I decided to speak with an expert on these problems: a Navy marriage counselor. I called the Fleet and Family Service Center. A man answered the phone in a friendly voice.

“Hi. I’m writing a paper on Navy marriages, and I was wondering if I could speak to a counselor.”

Click here to see interview with Maggie Young on Fox News.

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Comments

Ponzi May 7, 2008 @ 4:13 p.m.

I'm confused. Was this the cover story or did I just read the roommate from hell?

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NovemberMan May 8, 2008 @ 2:44 a.m.

As ex-Army, I always thought Barracks living was bad enough (musical-chair roommates, communal living, "Hey You" details, etc)... I almost feel kind of sorry for those on ships. Barracks may suck, but it doesn't drive as many to marriage (there's like a whole percent or two less guys getting married for Army BAH. maybe.)

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realnews May 7, 2008 @ 2:44 p.m.

I dunno. Still smells like fraud to me. Fraud is bad but the writer is correct in that she agreed the bad was already in her. It's just military conditions allowed it to flower.

Here's a radical thought; why not pay those in the military an actual living wage?

I realize one needn't pay extra for menial jobs. However, if those doing the lousy jobs are doing them away from their family, the G.I. bill is not enough of a "treat" to join. So pay a living wage and get on with it. Then fraud wouldn't be so attractive.

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mbolivar May 8, 2008 @ 1:34 a.m.

Excellent story depicting a reality that needs to be uncovered. We cannot allow for criticism to be absent from our lives just for the sake of institutions. It should be the other way around: Institutions modified to meet the demands and expectations of critical, engaged citizens...

I loved the mastery that puts together irony, fine prose and self in the sort of Journalism that inspires the reader.

Ironically, the Navy did help you to become a Journalist!

My congratulations to the Editors for having three great cover stories in a row.

Way to go Reader!

Maria Bolivar

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whogasa May 8, 2008 @ 7:10 a.m.

Good story about how the military works in regards to marriage and how to "use the system". I am ex-Navy got out in late '87 after getting married for real (still married to the gal) I knew back then that Navy and marriage didn't go together. What I take exception to is the very last sentence of this story. Too much bitterness from the writer. You chose to join, your test must not have been high enough if you went in as a BM. What you left out of the article was what you did or did not do to try and get to be a JO, appears as if you gave up and became bitter because you did not get your way right away. The military does not bring out the bad in people they do through the choices they make.

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surfinmike May 8, 2008 @ 9:05 a.m.

Whogasa, I don't think it's fair to comment about the test scores not being high enough. Everyone knows how they try to eff you over regardless of your ASVAB scores. They tried to push me into an apprenticeship program until I was clued in by my cousin who was already in. Fortunately I hadn't shipped and was able to get into another program (computers) and now have a pretty decent career thanks to the Navy. However, they did try to screw me over as they try to do all the naïve young people trying to pull themselves out of (usually) poverty and the mid-west hell many of us grew up in. As with many people the military can bring out the best or worst in us. I had a decent 4 years on a carrier but you aren’t expected to have a life and young sailor. The thing I think about is that I would accept money to take the family guy’s watch or duty day. Was this any more wrong than what she did? The military frauds you and lies to you and then they expect you to not walk a fine line to help yourself? The lie to you to get you in and then give deserving people very crappy jobs and you only stay so you don’t end up in the brig. I don't think what she did was fraud. People get married for many reasons and money is just one in the long list of things. The military has Article 134 (if memory serves me right) that is the catch-all for anything they think you've done wrong but they can't find anything in the previous 133. It's basically a way to get you on charges but not knowing what to charge you with. That's high standards?

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epearcy May 8, 2008 @ 9:18 a.m.

Kudos to you, my dear!!!

As a military wife, who married for love (not money), I am aware of the attitude of What happens on deployment, stays on deployment. In addition to the dozens of births post-deployment, there are also dozens of divorces, caused infidelity of both civilians and service members. That is to say, that the military is not concerned with the how or why of a situation, but what it looks like to the public. As a USMC spouse, it seems like everything is classified information. If that is the case, my relationship is too. Stop focusing on my home, and pay attention to the so-called war....

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cpagirl30 May 8, 2008 @ 12:17 p.m.

I say BULL. This is a matter of ethics. The "everone else is doing it so why shouldn't I?" defense doesn't fly.

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jingjing May 8, 2008 @ 2:36 p.m.

well, technically she didn't break any rules. who is anyone to say what she did was morally wrong? marriage is a legal thing and nobody can tell her why she has to get married. nobody said it had to be love. you can't make her feel an emotion. i myself was in the navy and i saw a lot of marriages, a ton of divorces, and nearly everyone cheated. the majority of the time, the driving force for people to get married was money. she called the navy right out. at least she didn't rape or cheat on anyone. so many horrible crimes are pushed under the rug and ingnored. sometimes the truth pisses people off. everything she said is real and happens all the time. those who haven't been what she's been through can't judge her until they've been through it as well. fantastic story! don't be so ignorant, people!

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repub4lyf May 8, 2008 @ 3:08 p.m.

There are reasons that certain military things are supposed to remain unspoken.

Inability to keep things quiet is why women were not allowed in the military for so long, God forbid we end up with one as a president...

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Kohai999 May 8, 2008 @ 4:47 p.m.

Navy Vet, 1987-1991, Honorably Discharged, PN3, USS Sacramento(AOE-1)

  1. People get lied to about getting a rate all the time...it is called a good sales job by the recruiter...right, wrong or whatever, it is and always has been the DUTY of the prospective enlistee to find out what the real deal is before they sign...I had to get a waiver to join, but still got a PN "A" School.

  2. "...... I came from a great family, but something about me felt out of place. I was that typical teenage girl with problems: insecure, never cool enough, never pretty enough, anorexic at 12, and obsessively bulimic from 14 to 18."

Sorry, I didn't know there was a typical teenage girl with problems.....everyone has problems.....obviously, the reader thought that she was pretty enough to put on the cover(repulse me a bit, tho)

  1. I spent 9 months a year on average away from homeport, so offbase housing would not really have been an option...but if it was, I would have been grateful....Out of 12 guys in my office, two were married, from beginning of tour of duty until the end...and I thought they were pretty average.

  2. This young lady is not a very good writer...I responded to this because it is fairly insulting to the U.S. Navy to blame your problems on them...they are your problems...the Navy did not cause them...find something in your life you do well, "Maggie", and try not to allow blame for the things that you do/did wrong.

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socalsocalsocal May 8, 2008 @ 7:36 p.m.

AD NAUSEUM. It is a disgrace that this would get published, let alone get a cover story. The piece is whiny, and (at best) show cases her caliber as a sordid opportunistic person in uniform. Many military marriages fail; however, the author was never in a legitimate marriage, so she could never understand the pressures that exist in that situation. She complains about the Navy not paying her enough, however she fails to mention that she would have been compensated had she MADE RANK. Rank has its privileges, single BAH (one that doesn't require a marriage)is one of them. Don't blame the Navy for your lack of information at the time of enlistment. Don't blame the Navy for your lack of discipline and the fact YOU COULDN'T CUT IT in the military. Don't be upset that you got caught. Had you pulled this stunt at any other job you would have been charged with FRAUD ( a felony in most cases). I can go on and on. Thanks "MAGGIE" for perpetuating the myths that the good people in the military work hard to counteract. They already are faced with a severe antiwar sentiment, and to top it off, people out there think they give their lives in Service simply because they are too STUPID to do anything else.
As author Stephen King recently put it: "I don't want to sound like an ad, a public service ad on TV, but the fact is if you can read, you can walk into a job later on. If you don't, then you've got, the Army, Iraq, I don't know, something like that. It's, it's not as bright. So, that's my little commercial for that."

To add insult to injury, it is also very poorly written. Go figure.

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smela07 May 8, 2008 @ 8:02 p.m.

It's interesting that no one has picked up on the idea that the government puts a price on marriage (and discriminates against single people) by paying married military personnel more than single personnel. At what other government agency does a married woman make more than a single woman, just because she's married? At what company does a married man make more than a single man, just because he's married?

The government should get out of the business of valuing a marriage. Just pay all personnel the same wage, by rank and years in service. Of course, you won't see many married military personnel or spouses arguing for this point...The benefits are sometimes even more insidious than BAH: many married military personnel are easily allowed to use the excuse of familial obligations (school play, kid's t-ball game, wife's girls' night out) to regularly skirt out of work early, to avoid week-end watches that are too frequently dumped on single people, etc...

Good story Maggie. And it IS well written. After all, it must be a good story if it has so many people talking. Ignore the resentful tone of some of the comments, and keep plugging away.

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jcsuperstar May 8, 2008 @ 8:59 p.m.

Plenty of people have, in the past and present, gotten married for financial reasons. Some don't marry similarly out of financial concerns. Divorce too. Marriage to the government is a legal contract. They entered into such a contract and it should have been respected by the military. Marriage as an emotional and procreative bond is for the churches and similar, which have zero standing in government and military affairs. Yes, they took advantage of the system but so do many taxpayers who choose to either file separately or jointly based on the bottom line.

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Dannyboy May 9, 2008 @ 8:13 a.m.

Fun article to read thanks for the entertainment. Brought back memories when I was on the Constellation (aircraft carrier) when Vietnam started in 64. Was in a squadron from Miramar. I made $99/month (about .13/hour) lol, which didn't include flight deck pay or hazardous duty pay because there wasn't enough alloted for everyone. Worked 12-16 hour days for months at a time (no such thing as Saturday or Sunday). I was in charge of a secret project that saved lives of pilots and rio's. I was in trouble constantly until I got involved with this project. Totally loved it and willingly worked many long hours. Pardon my long rant. Just wanted to say the Navy can and has sucked although I was more responsible then I liked to admit. Much bad with even more good.

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James_Gerrardi May 9, 2008 @ 4:14 p.m.

Maggie my Love, A wonderfully vivacious & violently vivid story, but what else would I expect? : )I love and respect your honesty but even more your selflessness to engross us readers. Thanks love, JG-VW

1

kwn73 May 9, 2008 @ 5:28 p.m.

whogasa - You know if you would have read and understood what this young lady wrote about you would of understood that no matter what she came into the military as, you would known that she a very smart young lady and great writer, better than you and all the mistakes that you made within your "negative" feedback. A lot of the young men and women that are joining our service are not represented properly by their recruiters and just place somewhere within the military un-designated and so they are sent to the flight deck and do "BM" work. Besides, there is nothing wrong with being a BM, there are a lot of good men and women that are in that field and without them, who would do the work, what would we call them? Get your facts straight next time before you go putting people down and get a clue!

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kwn73 May 9, 2008 @ 5:41 p.m.

smela07 - Very good point of view. I think that your idea would solve a lot of the people getting married for the wrong reasons. I agree that people should be financially set before they get themselves into a marriage, but it is that extra BAH money that tempts a lot of the young people out there today. Your idea would take that out of the equation and I bet that we would see less people getting married and we would see people concentrating on what is more important, like getting promoted. Doing it the way that we are now gives people in the service the easy way out to earn extra money. Great idea, you should send it to a congressman to take back to congress.

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ladiel May 9, 2008 @ 6:13 p.m.

kohai 99 and socalsocalsocal, Wow, if she is such a bad writer, well, it's funny how you to read the whole thing so thoroughly and then went through the effort of signing on to the San Diego Reader and writing what are practically essays in criticism. You really put forth time an effort for an article being so "poorly written". Usually when Ifind a poorly written article, I don't have the desire to read it all, much less comment on it. I bet you cheating old men men hate the attention!

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jdizzzle May 9, 2008 @ 9:01 p.m.

check this out: http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/09/admiral.affair/index.html?eref=rss_topstories surprise surprise.. The Navy is full of it.

How can they justify essentially doubling a seaman's pay on the merit of ONLY being married? What about all the other honest single sailors? The Navy's system was meant to be played with if they implemented such a biased pay system. Seriously how is one expected to live on the ship in their homeport when it is their day off.

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maggie_young May 10, 2008 @ 8:27 a.m.

i'm choosing to comment on my own story because miketango obviously knew me personally.i want to set things straight for my readers. 1. i didn't mention my shore command because my marriage took place on the higgins. my story behind my marriage lies w/ the higgins. i didn't go into transferring to my shore command and all that because it really doesn't matter. i was representing me vs. and entire organization. telling a long story about transferring would have led to a lot of needless rambling.

  1. my "affair w/ a married man"? you could only be talking about 1 of 2 things. the first thing, well, it's not an affair when the wife is OBVIOUSLY ok with things. affairs involve lies and backstabbig. a crazy fling of an 18 year old and a man in an open marriage hardly counts as an affair.i'm sure if you look up "cheating" in the dictionary you'll get some clarity. second thing: i don't feel that a drunken kiss with a married man who told me he was on the verge of divorce should count as an affair w/ a married man. it was more of me being naive and him being a creep. a if you want to equal that with someone screwing hookers or whoever else and coming home to their loving spouse, then that's all you. i'm not saying i was innocent and perfect. i'm saying i didn't have an affiar w/ a married man.
  2. my ex husband is now happily married to....ta da! A WOMAN! :)
  3. i took a lot of college courses while in the navy and am halfway done w/ my b.a. (how well did we know eachother? i'm wondering who you are.)
  4. i chose studying for college over studying for advancement because i knew i didn't want to stay in the navy. i could care less about becoming a jo because....look, i'm doing it now. it's so easy to become codependent off the navy, but you do not need the navy for everything. certain benifits just help. jo a-school halfway through my enlistment would have required a long extension. once again, i knew i didn't want to stay in.
  5. and for the record, my ex boyfriend was a great man, just not the one for me. he also tried to get me help for my bulimia. he wasn't "ok" with it at all. God forbid you have a son or daughter with an eating disorder. you'll understand the lack of control you really have.
  6. and if you want to rationalize cheating and deception with "what happens on deployment stays on deployment", you'll be one of many. Do you see what I mean, readers?
    8.i was never a corpsman.
  7. get an apartment w/ other single sailors? e1's make under california's minumum wage. e2's and 3's barely over. i know a few guys who got an apartment w/ single pay. they ended up in debt and are still deep in debt 4 years later.
  8. and who am i to judge? i didn't call any particular person out. i wrote what i saw. nothing in this story was fabricated.

.

to everyone: whether you loved or hated the story, you still took the time to read and comment on it. i am grateful to every single one of you. thanks soooo much!

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miketango May 10, 2008 @ 2 a.m.

so it's so surprising how you didn't mention that the command that started the investigation on you wasn't the USS HIGGINS, in fact it was you shore command. since you did become a corpsman and get away from your "slave work" as a deck seamen. you also failed to mention that you, yourself had an affair with a married man before you were "married" and that the reason that you didn't have any chemistry with your husband is because he was gay. it's amamzing how so many people can talk so much crap about the navy, what did you do while you were in? nothing... you didn't go to school while you were in. never heard you talk about wanting to be a JO.

true some people do get married for money, true people cheat. but who are you to judge? when you're away from home a lot people do a lot of things that they wouldn't normally do. and that's right, "what happens on deployment, stays on deployment". why would you go back and tell someone's spouse bad things about their husband or wife? for what? what does that get you? a peace of mind knowing that you just made someone's homelife that much worse?

as far as living on the ship... you could've have easily got an apartment with other single sailors onboard. just like college students do. hell, you should be happy to live onboard and not in a box with a man that thought it was okay for you to puke up your dinner.

so, all this boils down to...if you're going to tell the truth, tell the whole truth and not something that's completely biased.

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roxieu May 10, 2008 @ 2:37 a.m.

I'm glad to know she married an actual friend. Sometimes those love/hate friendships are the only thing that can keep your chin up when you're pulling your 800th "hey you!" detail.

I would rather see an entire ship full of people married to good friends, who are well supported during deployment, than sailors with emotionally dependent spouses and multiple children, many of whom would be devastated by the truth of what some really do whilst separated by duty.

Thank you, Maggie, for exposing the truth. I was in the Army for four years, in an extremely high stress environment. I saw young people far away from home, stressed out of their minds, clinging to and marrying the first person who gave them a shoulder to de-stress on -- some less than a month after meeting. I watched more than half of them likewise wind up in very ugly divorces within a year or few, sometimes after children were born and the realities of starting a family with someone they didn't even really know REALLY sank in.

The military is supposed to set such a high moral standard for the rest of the country, but in fact -- it's very structure makes people take less than highbrow options. Marriages to have a nice warm bed, one's own groceries, etc. Marriages because a person is scared, lonely, and 3000 miles from home. Marriages because lower-enlisted base pay is not a "dignified living" for anyone. Marriages to get posted in the same hemisphere as one's latest love/lust interest. Shotgun marriages because people thought their lust was more important than birth control. You name it. Bad pay, less than ideal billeting, and loneliness got me engaged three times in four years. Eighteen years later, I talk to a lot of vets who are positively gobsmacked to hear that I have never been married and have zero children -- some actually question whether or not I was really in the Army. I can name at least a dozen off the top of my head who say I was crazy for NOT finding some buddy to marry just for the BAH/BAS and tax break. You're not alone -- it's TACITLY ENCOURAGED.

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terra_firma May 11, 2008 @ 2:50 a.m.

As an adolescence as well as an adult you have the ability of making sound decisions in your life. Regardless of temptation the options still remain. During my time onboard the USS HIGGINS I cant say that everything had been run the within the views and expectations of society, yet in life everyone is so quick to judge what is rite. Your correct though, the majority of people who join are fresh out of high school. This may be the precise reason why so many adults in the military now still have a childish mentality. So this is our future, grown women and men who live their lives to tell on other adults and what their doing in their lives. One thing I have learned while in the military has been that the only people who focus their attention on others lives is simply to get the focus off thiers and what wrongs their doing. Small minds discuss people, when bigger minds discuss ways to change the world and create better. During my times overseas I chose to utilize my time by taking advantage of what was given to me. To use the ports as means to build my mind, my art gallery, and my networking of business.

You quickly mention how the guys would “get obliterated…etc.” in all honesty knowing it simply wasn’t just the males but females as well. In history it has been known for sailors to drink and cuss thus the world has evolved and has become worst at the same time better. The newer generation comes with brighter ideas on how to create a better system or better inventions to protect and serve thus there are those few who create a bad appearance due to over intoxication which is rare. So quick to mention the negative yet the positive is how much money is brought back into these countries after years of war, natural disasters, poverty, and hunger. However, I’m not justifying any actions of trafficing in persons (prostitution) at all. Just don’t make it seem as if its every guy to do so.

Now, for you to mention your age and where your from doesn’t place a halo over your head in any way, shape, or form. “french kissing prostitutes …” I’m assuming your still referring to thailand. If so I do recall that port visit clearly. Yes there were so many young sailors running the streets with “rentals”, but I also saw more people just enjoying the festivities the place had to offer, the cheap merchandise, exotic eateries, beautiful landscape (even after the tsunami had just rampaged their country), people who were out making the best of their time jet skiing, parasailing and much more. I do recall seeing you in the bar with the normal group of girls you accompanied everywhere. I remember seeing you on stage, yet this hadnt been disclosed in your article. Though you used those same lips to kiss your illegitimate husband who also had tendencies of his own. So it doesn’t justify a reason for you to be “the one to call them out.”

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Ponzi May 10, 2008 @ 7:24 p.m.

I read the story and these comments. The story is "Confessions of a Phony Navy Wife" afterall. You never know, this story may help the Navy make some changes for the better. Most importantly is recruitment needs to be reformed so tha people are not lied to when they enlist. Her story is not an isolated incident, recruiters have been getting away lying to young people for decades. The Armed Services need to stop the bait-and-switch on a promised MOS, and they need to allow people to live in peace-time conditions when they are not at sea.

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maximillian May 10, 2008 @ 9:29 p.m.

Knowing her personally is beside the point. The issues brought up in this article are real. Address the issues. My dad was in the navy. I grew up in navy housing. I could relate to many points and issues in this article. The Issues

1.Recruiters lie-I know this for a fact my father was a recruiter at one time.They are salespeople that are under pressure to bring you in.

2.Infedelity-Very high percentage. Many factors. Age,seperation due to being out to sea etc...What profession would have you seperated for months at a time, live so close together(military housing) at such a young age? I am sure infedelity would be an issue in civilian marriages under these circumstances.

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vigilance May 10, 2008 @ 7 p.m.

This chick I knew from the USS Higgins. I am now out and proud to have served. She was what military persons define 'dirt bags'. She was completely lazy, always complaining, with a huge mouth that ALWAYS got her in trouble. Her activities on and off the ship we known to everyone b/c she had no shame and bragged often. She was never articulate but just blabbed stupid stuff without thinking and did the same here, running her mouth without thinking of the consequences it may have on the families of loyal sailors, the Navy and the sailors aboard ship serving our country.

All this story is about is a piss poor sailor making bad decisions and complaining about it. We all do and we all get over it, so please do the same and don't go as low as blaming someone or something else. I wish San Diego Reader interviewed someone off the Higgins to verify her creditability because if they had this would have never been published let alone front page worthy.

"...I thought that all the men were lying cheaters and all the women were sluts. I laughed at the thought of marriage and love."

Come on Maggie, you were no where near the model of moral standards. And this, the pointing of fingers of infidelity is ridicules. You are just mad that you got caught and caught badly and now want to blame anyone but yourself. You don't listen to anyone and never have, you just ramble on and on hoping someone listens, it was always nonsense, garbage and I see nothing has changed. Just now someone gave you a pen, big mistake.

Don't take this story to heart. There are many good navy men and women that continue to be loyal to their spouses. It is unfair to judge a group by a few bad eggs and I’m sad to say "Maggie" was defiantly one of them who is now is essentially 'ratting' out her few old friends, blaming the Navy for her short comings. She’ll eventually grow up and realize she was wrong.

Good Job Maggie! You have never ceased to amaze!

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terra_firma May 11, 2008 @ 2:52 a.m.

I agree though that those same guys later kissed their wives and children which is inappropiate. But lets face reality for anyone who is familiar with the military is safe to say that the majority of females are just as promiscious as the guys in their indevours. Every deployment when the ship begins to set sail on its operations of peace and intelligence it gives the oppurtunity for corruption. Couples form from the most unlikely people. Yet the majority are already married. Everyones human but to narrow this issue to a military issue is too narrow. This isnt only a military issue its been existant in the world for generations. Being on a ship with over 200 guys and only 30 females gives oppurtunity for some females to make money whether it be thru being treated to materialistic items, mentally spoiled, physically selling their bodies, or just becoming a complete whore amongst the crew. Though I cant say this for every female but thru my years onboard I have scene so much to where I chose to stay single out of fear. I recall a faithful guy who returned early from deployment to surprise his wife only to see her being railed in his bed. So its not just a one way street. This may explain how so many people had been married so many times. Not simply because of money but because they assumed they were ready and had found the rite one.

Single sailors werent forced to sleep onboard. When I first checked in despite my small check I still had my own place out on town. I had money saved from my teenage years and a second job I had while in San Diego to balance my living. I knew a lot of single sailors who lived out on town. It’s a matter of whats a priority to you and what you want out of life. As for myself I worked in a rate which was hard to make rank and yet I still made PO2 my first time up in 3 yrs rather than the adverage of 5 yrs it normally takes someone.

It’s a matter of taste so I cant argue the issue of how you felt about the living conditions but I do know there had been times where we watched the girls and guys from the ship leaving out on liberty, it had been well deserved after all the hours of sweating, painting, priming, etc. yet none of those people showered before they left. I physically watched you and your group of girls leave smiling, perfumed, make up on and all yet the water hadnt even been hooked up to the ship yet. Sanitary issue I do believe, but then theres wonder on why there had been a musty stench. Priorities yet again …

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terra_firma May 11, 2008 @ 2:53 a.m.

The ship had to be cold for a reason, not for personnel appeal but sanitary issues such as discussed above, also cooling equipment etc. buy a cover rather than that next drink. Sure some beds had been uncomfortable but so quick to complain when there are marines, army, etc. in iraq rite now who have to dig holes in the dirt and create a bed out of that. Im sure theres room for complaint there but would you be willing to trade places is the question. My father a former U.S. Marine endured a lot during the time he had been in. to complain about the comfortability of a bed is insulting to those troops we have out there now as well as those we have already lost. There had been no need to jump from the top beds when there had been installed foot ladders placed on each bed to assist in travels coming down and up.

I’m sure everyone had seen those “accelerate your life” commercials but who honestly jumps into the unknowning without researching it first ? ok maybe those few exceptions. Like they say “choose your rate, you choose your fate.” As for myself sure I wouldn’t suggest the military to anyone but its my personal opinion. Id rather tell my child to stay focused in school, work hard, and achieve all the goals you place on your plate.

Looking at your marriage, you felt as though you didn’t commit any type of fraud yet you knew you were only marrying for money. Everyone is aware that that is against the rules as well as society as a whole. Its money coming to you which you didn’t earn that’s one, taxpayers supported, and a slap to the face for any real marriages out there now. It’s a matter of moral and despite being in the navy everyone was raised to have that very trait instilled in them.

Like you said though, not everyone is bad. You just have to have the will and strength not to slip into being a statistic.

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Double_B_TTB May 11, 2008 @ 9:42 p.m.

I think the Navy is gay, the Higgins was gay when I was stationed there, and everybody cheated on everybody. There was only a few cool people there, everybody else was fake, and thats just how it was, and probably still is. But J Dub was the best CO I ever had, and I know everybody who served under him can agree on that! Who cares about this story, does anybody ever wonder what happend to J Dub? Dude needs to be in charge of his own squadron...for real, one of the best leaders i've ever seen

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jgrimeyj May 11, 2008 @ 9:45 a.m.

I was stationed on the USS Higgins with Maggie as well. Like most young sailors, Maggie was a wild girl, but she at least owned up to everything. She wasn't in a committed relationship. (I wouldn't count her "marriage") She talked a lot and had the language of a trucker, but her big mouth was known for speaking truth, which is what she did in this article. This article wasn't about ratting on cheaters. Cheating sailors is an old stereotype. It was about how people do things in the military they normally wouldn't do in civillian life and the reasons behind it. Maggie, you are much smarter than I ever gave you credit for. She used the system to the best of her ability and got herself on the cover of the reader because of it. Maggie, you do never cease to amaze!

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TommyD May 13, 2008 @ 1:35 a.m.

I know this girl also. She is not the sharpest tool in the shed (obviously). This is a blatant attempt by an embittered person to seek revenge for her failure in the Navy. Bottom line: She broke the rules. She paid for it.

I did not serve with her in the Navy but I am in a class with her at Mesa College. She never knows when to shut up. Every day I wish I had a tape recorder (or duct tape) because of the total garbage that comes out of her mouth.

Good job San Diego Reader. Do you even have an editor? If you had any credibility now you have none.

I will never buy anything from anyone who advertises in your rmagazine again.

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revwatch1 May 12, 2008 @ 8:50 a.m.

I too knew this person, served with her and some of the people commenting on here. I agree that what happened shouldn't have, she should have kept her mouth shut. But in her division things were blown up all the time. This story is NOT 100% true. She was not an example to follow. And now she is twisting facts and truths. 1. Its 1000 baht for 4hours, I didn’t use this service, but trust me I know a lot that did. 2. She created a lot of her own problems, she was stupid from the get go, look at her job, undesignated, only people who get suckered or are a rock, don't get an A and/or C school. 3. She wasn't getting the attention that the rest of the young single girls aboard HIGGINS were getting. If somebody would have given her some, she would have never written this. 4. There were many times that i waited for cabs, and it never cost $5, try $20. Transportation overseas was always and issue. 5. She was jealous of the "sluts" that the "cheating married men" and single sailors would look at. It’s plain to see in her opening statements. If you are going to blast the HIGGINS crew, blame yourself for being a loud mouth, marrying a possible gay man( later confirmed to be straight), bragging about it, and daring people to do something to you. There are plenty of good people on that crew, and now you put suspicion and worry in the hearts of the faithful men and women that were home, supporting us out there. You are a family wrecker, maybe someone should give her attention, so she quits twisting stories and trying to hurt people. You are still the retard you were back on the ship.

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coronado5th May 13, 2008 @ 9:37 a.m.

The story is interesting but not exactly accurate. It leaves people with a very skewed perception of Navy sailors and of HIGGINS.

  1. You should have explained that HIGGINS was not the command that went after you for fraud. You criticize the ship for being hypocrites but in fact they didn't meddle in your phony marriage, it was your shore command.
  2. The officers that you spoke about, the ones who got caught having sex on the ship got into quite a bit more trouble then just getting transferred to another command. They both were sent to Admirals Mast and received appropriate punishment. This lack of accuracy of this story makes me a little weary of some of the other stories you mention; are they true or is it just the scuttlebutt that you heard on the smoke deck one night on deployment? A LOT of rumors are passed around on the ship and only about 10% of them are even close to being accurate.
  3. The military does NOT make bad people. Sure the environment is a bit more stressful, but freedom doesn't come easy. The military simply contains a slice of society. There are plenty of bad people outside of the Navy; adulterers, rapist, etc. In an office environment you may not know that your colleague is cheating on his/her spouse or is involved in other inappropriate or illegal behavior, but then again you aren't spending 24 hrs a day with him/her for 6+ straight months.

My experience with the military was stressful and hard and at times I thought it was unfair, but it was an extremely satisfying experience. I wouldn't change anything about my time in the Navy. The choices we make and the experiences we go through shape who we are. As the NCIS officer pointed out to you, if you hadn't joined the Navy "you should have been lying in a gutter somewhere." So stop complaining about the experience; embrace and build off it.

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vanillabean May 13, 2008 @ 12:48 p.m.

It is unfortunate to see those cast judgement on a lifestyle they have never lived. If you have lived it an survived then you are some of the lucky ones. We forget those who have lost their lives aren't always the ones who are fighting on the battle field or dead. You sacrifice a lot to serve and you expect a little respect in return. It is a hard life with as many benefits as downfalls. And there is a constant battle here at home and most don't even know about it. My story was a little different and yet in a way the same. I too witnessed the hypocrisy of the United States Military. The code states Honor, Courage and Commitment. But sometimes the only way to survive the system is to make it work for you when it won't stand behind you when you need it the most. Otherwise, what good are you going to be when your country needs you the most?

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bettyboop May 19, 2008 @ 11:03 p.m.

-balicoastdaisy- It's pretty comical that you sit and accuse Maggies about her article and her so called whining, when that is pretty much what your responce was...ohhh poor lil ol' me! I went to college and had to work at a bowling alley, blah blah blah. I only made this much money, blahh blahh blahh. I could find a better job, other then serving pizza....gimmie a break, this was your avenue to whine about your situation, let's not call the kettle black!!

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bettyboop May 14, 2008 @ 8:14 p.m.

First and foremost, congrats to you Maggie for getting out of the Navy with your head held high and dream to follow.

I as well knew Maggie. We were stationed together at our shore command. It is true Maggie was not the "model sailor", and at times her mouth did get her in alot of trouble. However, I can understand her attitude twoards the Navy and believe it was just. I was in for almost 8 years and have witnessed many lies the recruiters will tell the young nieve people who walk through their doors. We were all just numbers to them. Wouldn't you as well be bitter if you faced lie after lie, and realized you had been suckered?

Maggie's story hit the nail on the head. Yes, there are many people who are married ligitamatly in the military and who do not cheat on their spouses, but they are few and far between. There are far more people in the military who are married for convience, and for the money. We saw it everyday, as a matter of fact before Maggie reported to the command, I believe four or five people had been busted on BAH fraud. She isn't the only one and will definatly not be the last. Maggie is a outspoken and strong willed person, and yes that got her into trouble. But she always spoke the truth, people in chain of command didn't approve of you having a opinion, let alone a woman with a opinon.

I applaud you Maggie for speaking the truth on some of the issues of the military. This article wasn't meant to "bash" anyone or any command. However, if you took offence to it, perhaps you are one of those guilty people who is afraid of their laundry being aired, and truly showing the civilians some of the real issues in the military. The Navy closes a eye to alot of things that go on depending on your status, if you are well liked or a "dirtbag" depends on the outcome. You could have the most squared away sailor in the Navy who is committing fraud. Just because Maggie didn't fit the typical Navy image, people are so quick to attack her on her mistakes.

Thank you Maggie for writing about some of the issues that the Navy has so blindly overlooked. This article was very well written, and I can't wait to read your NEXT article!

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mstoyaj May 14, 2008 @ 9:54 p.m.

As many of the other individuals that posted a comment on this article, I also served with Maggie in deck division. There was an individual that stated her asvab scores were too low to do anything other than undes, but you know just as well as I know it wasn't a matter of what you're capable of doing in the Navy. It's a matter of where that recruiter needs you and his numbers. Also I have seen her falling asleep studying for the JO exam. Not only that for every individual that thought she was stupid, was absolutely wrong. Simply b/c she played that role so no one would ask her to do things, and no one ever noticed when she was missing. There are many tedious task assigned to those in deck divison and no matter how motivated you are, you will get tired of it. Anyhow now that I've taken up for the supposed "dumb blonde". I think the article was decent, but you have far too much potential to waste your time whining about your past in the Navy. This is the point in your life you need to look foward and grab the attention of the general public. Honestly g/f 90% of your readers are "us" (mostly sailors that served with you). Your not going to make money exploiting the Navy b/c it's only interesting to a very small group, get America's attention! The only reason half of your readers stopped to read this was for gossip purposes, you've entertained the Navy long enough entertain the nation. DON'T LOOK BACK, BECAUSE YOUR NOT GOING THAT WAY". Congrats again fake ass bobble head!

Moving Forward JaY

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DjCav May 16, 2008 @ 2:54 a.m.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the USS Higgins, Please for the sake of your good image stop.

I am a Veteran of the Us Navy and cannot sit idly by while you all air dirty laundry about who said what or how to whom. Maggie, while I believe your impression of the nature Naval policy and organization to be flawed, it is your impression. I cannot change or alter your experiences. I can say that your attitude and actions appear to have caused some ill will among the crew with which you worked. This and not the navy as a whole is probably what led to your investigation. I say investigation because the outcome appears to be based on your confession to allegations that could not have been backed up and proven in a court marshal. Your marriage for whatever reason was legal in the state in which it was obtained. You did not according to your article have an extramarital affair. And the only apparent cause of your punishment was that you were not willing to stand up for your own rights as a married sailor.
As for the actions of your shipmates, if they violated the trust of their marriage or their commitments to those they left behind then they are wrong, but that is a moral issue for them to deal with. I promise that the navy as a whole does not tolerate extramarital affairs. That having been said they will not go out of their way to research or discover them either. This double standard is based on simple ideas like those that govern the business world. If the navy has proof of infidelity they may take action to maintain good relations with sailors and spouses, but unless the act is publically apparent then they will willfully ignore it and continue to operate as if there is nothing amiss. The reason is simple; the navy doesn’t need sailors to be faithful to their husbands and wives. It does need sailors to be sober, alert, willing to follow orders, and fearful of the repercussions of not obeying the chain of command.

To the rest of the crew who want to set the story straight, or let their side be heard…don’t. Let it go as a footnote in history that at one time you may have served with a person who didn’t quite fit in with the rank and file of navy life. Maggie’s story may not be the whole truth, but it is her truth. She comes off as the victim of a situation of her own making and as such must deal with her own failings. The navy is an organization manned by real people in the real world, and as such will suffer from all of the pitfalls and foibles that we all suffer. The navy didn’t make people bad, it just has to deal with people who have all of the vices of any human population.

ET1/SS

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balicoastdaisy May 17, 2008 @ 10:52 a.m.

Oh wait. I'm not 100% finished. This article really heated me up in a bad way.

On top of everything you have the nerve to whine that you are taking home about $600-$700 a paycheck.

You know how much I was taking home working at the bowling alley? $380.00 on the 1st and the 15th.

I lived in studio, shared a kitchen with 14 other women (it was down the hall) and six industrial bathroom stalls with 14 other women (showers included...also down the hall).

Ugh.

If you want to write about the Navy putting a price on marriage and blah, blah, which I might have agreed with an article in that vein. Then fine. But your article seems to harp on how horrible your life was to justify the decisions you made. Guess what? We have all had horrible lives in some way or another. We all made our decisions. We all have to live with that.

Okay, I'm done. I'm going to let it go now. But my Reader is still going to remain in the trash.

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mhg May 16, 2008 @ 9:04 a.m.

In addition to all of the obvious problems/criticisms of this "article," my biggest problem is that it is so poorly written. This is just a bad article. The author did not do a good job telling her story (regardless of what that story really is). I do not fault a publication for publishing an article that is potentially thought-provoking or controversial, however, I do fault a publication for publishing a bad article. This is hardly good journalism, and the author has a LONG way to go before what she writes is worth reading on it's own merits. People read this simply because it appeared that it might be interesting or shocking. While it did succeed in being controversial and inflammatory, it was poorly done. The author only succeeded in portraying herself as a complete trash bag with no talent for writing.

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Married2TheNavy May 16, 2008 @ 2:22 p.m.

As a person who knows the writer of this article and has experienced the anger and sadness of her actions, I dont like how she is presented as this honest person who had this rough Navy life and this poor me attitude.

First of all NOT ALL MILITARY MEN CHEAT. Not saying that she said that but the story does imply that they do. Secondly I dont agree with marriage for money. I will never agree with it. If you want better pay, become a model sailor and earn your rank. Thats how you get better pay.

I do agree with the parts about the Navy having screwed EVERYONE over at least once.

I will say that I do not have animosity towards Maggie any longer. The issues are long gone and over with and I hadnt even thought about them till i saw this story. While I believe she may have changed her life around, at the time that I was around her and had issues with her, she wasn't what i would consider a good person.

Hopefully things have changed.

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balicoastdaisy May 17, 2008 @ 10:20 a.m.

I hated this article so much I promptly threw away my Reader when I was finished. It was so terrible and so whiny I was horrified.

First, I am an extreme liberal. I am not Navy or military sympathetic nor am I all "gung-ho" USA. So, politics really has nothing to do with my post.

Where to start on this horrific piece of "writing.." Well, my situation sucked. I lived in the South and hated my life (blah, blah typical teenage whiny bull)...you know what I did? Hmm? I went to college. I applied for loans and grants and went to college. So, author, don't hate your decisions, you made them. Oh...boo-hoo...you think recruiters lied to you. You think you were "had" ....oh whine, whine.

Second, why did you have delusions of grandeur? Do you think every job you jump into and you are suddenly in a dream position? Navy or real world that is NEVER the case (except in rare instances). I graduated a 4-year college, $40,000 in debt and I could not find a job! I worked at a bowling alley for two years after college and worked at community basketball games at night. I felt tears well in my eyes every night because while I was in college I thought I was going to make $50,000 a year straight from the starting gate. When I was cleaning a nacho cheese spill off the floor of the bowling alley I became my most depressed and thought "Is this it? Is this my life?"

Guess what I learned though? Everyone....EVERYONE has to "pay the piper" everyone has to pay their dues and do some crappy job they do not want to do in order to gain some experience to move on. I have been out of college for four years and FINALLY have a job that I love, that's professional, and that I worked hard to get (not to mention the pay is fantastic). Oh wait....I did CRAP for four years and got a good job I love. I worked HARD.....sounds like what the military would've done to you....you know, given you a raise.....if you worked HARD and paid the piper. We ALL do crap we hate to get where we need to be. I have NO sympathy for "poor wittle you" having to do manual labor for a few years. I had to serve pizza to teenagers until midnight with a four year degree under my belt. Yeah. That sucked too.

You brought on your own fate. Don't blame anyone for catching you commit fraud. Karma is a bee-yotch. Take responsibility for what you did. Just because you missed "eating cereal in your PJs" doesn't excuse you from thinking that its okay to buck the system. I think its a matter of ethics. Simple as that. I worked in the system, climbed up the ladder, legitimately worked for the money I take home.

It just heats me up that I worked my arse off for four long miserable years at a CRAP job and got where I am today legitimately and YOU bucked the system like a snob and brat proceed to publish a whiny article about your poor widdle life.

Oh please.

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offroadw June 8, 2008 @ 2:07 a.m.

Good story and thank you for sharing it. Keep up the writing 'Maggie'! By the way-I loved the cover shot; it really caught my eye.

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mylittleponys June 15, 2009 @ 10:55 p.m.

Navy Vet, 2004-2008, Honorably Discharged, AM3

I to have been SCREWED over by the navy. Did i like it HECK NO. Did o make the best of it HECK YEA. I personally do NOT see a problem with her getting married to have BAH BUT as long as she stays out of stouble and does what she is told at work. No counceling chits nothing. I think its a fair reward for staying out of trouble.

I went in the navy wanting to be a MA and cause of my recruiter messing up on my paperwork i couldn't be a MA. so i made the best of it became a air framer and went ASF and worked as much as possible with the MA's..... I made the best of a bas situation. yes there was another time they royally screwed me over but actually to think about it it wasn't the NAVY that screwed me over but one B*#&h of a squadron doc. anyway i again made the best of a bad situation and did what i needed to do and got out with a honorable discharge without so much as a blemish counseling chit NOTHING on my record. its squeaky clean. i'm going to school and once i get my BA than i'm either getting a job or maybe of the navy will let me i'll go in as a officer. The navy isn't bad its some people that you come across. Yes at times it can be hell and you wish you could quit your job. But things always will get better one day. mine did. I think Maggie just couldn't hack it and decided to point the fingers at others. i'm glad she got out the navy OBVIOUSLY was NOT for her. as its not for everyone. As another person said what did she do to peruse her career as a JO. it seems to me she's not happy with herself and blames others. BUT now that she's out maybe she can go on with her life and try to do better. Just my 2 cents

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Letter to the Editor Aug. 1, 2013 @ 8:40 a.m.

I read Maggie Young's article about being accused of fraud, due to her marriage. I was particularly interested in this, because I am married to a Navy Seal who was using Craig's List to solicit men and women for sex. I contacted Navy Fleet and Family services, even took my husband to four counseling session that were a complete joke. Long story short, he refused to stop seeing a particular girl he met online and asked me to leave after cleaning out the bank accounts. When I contacted Navy JAG, they refused to get involved and his command told me they couldn't do anything except make him pay $300 a month in child support. I moved out and he moved his girlfriend in two days later.

I was surprised the Navy went after Maggie Young, but does nothing about adultery. I would like to see this changed.

Thanks, Maggie, for shedding light on problems in the Navy.

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grindogg Oct. 26, 2013 @ 10:29 p.m.

Technically she didn't do anything wrong under the UCMJ, but morally it was wrong because it was a waste to the taxpayers money to pay her that extra money for a phony marriage. No one would have known that if she didn't tell on herself to NCIS though. They could have speculated, but not proved anything. signed, "Sea Lawyer" .no I'm not a real lawyer.

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