- The Washington Times - Friday, June 8, 2007

ANNAPOLIS — Retiring Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Rodney Rempt said yesterday he hopes the Academy community has a better understanding about “culture change that is ongoing in gender relations” in the wake of high-profile sexual misconduct cases in the past year.

Adm. Rempt, who is being succeeded by Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler, was commended at a change of command ceremony for his efforts to improve Academy culture, cracking down on alcohol abuse and working to raise awareness about sexual misconduct at the 162-year-old Academy.

Earlier this year, Adm. Rempt recommended the expulsion of Navy quarterback Lamar Owens, who was acquitted of raping a fellow midshipman but convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer. His recommendation, which was finalized by the Navy, was made despite opposition from some alumni.

In April, another former football player, Kenny Ray Morrison, was convicted for sexually assaulting a midshipman and sentenced to two years in the brig.

Adm. Rempt touched on what he described as “high-visibility events” in his remarks.

“In fact, from my perspective, if anything good can come from the recent high-visibility events over the past year or so, is that midshipmen, faculty and staff and lots of alumni have discussed this important issue,” Adm. Rempt said.

He also said he hoped the events “have increased their understanding of the many nuances that make up the culture change that is ongoing in gender relations at the Naval Academy.”

The Academy began admitting women in 1976, and about 20 percent of the Academy’s students are female.

Adm. Rempt, who is retiring to Montana after 41 years of active duty, was commended by Adm. Michael Mullen, chief of naval operations, for leading “profound change” in academics, ethics and character development.

Adm. Mullen also pointed out that Adm. Rempt delivered two significant firsts in Naval Academy history, by naming the first black and the first female commandants, the No. 2 position at the Academy.

“In all his actions, he’s been bold, fearless and courageous,” Adm. Mullen said.

Adm. Fowler, a submarine commander who is the Academy’s 60th superintendent, thanked his family and Academy colleagues for inspiring him in his naval career. He reflected on flying from his home in Bismarck, N.D., to the Academy to join the Class of 1978 and beginning his Navy adventure.

He also thanked his Naval Academy sponsors from his time as a midshipman, “teaching us about Navy life in an atmosphere away from the yard.” One of them, 98-year-old Peggy Moses, was in the audience.

Adm. Fowler, 50, was stationed in Naples when he was named to the post. He was deputy commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet in Europe and commander of allied submarine forces in the Mediterranean.

After receiving his commission in 1978, Adm. Fowler started training in the Navy’s nuclear propulsion program. He has served as a submarine tactics instructor at the Naval Submarine Training Center. During his career, he has been deployed to the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic oceans.

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