- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Navy announced Monday that it has reprimanded a two-star admiral for getting drunk and wandering around naked in a Florida hotel while attending a conference with defense contractors.

Rear Adm. David F. Baucom, the director of strategy and policy at the U.S. Transportation Command, became so intoxicated during the conference at the Ponte Vedra Inn in April that he struck his head on a barstool, wet his pants and needed an escort back to his room, according to an investigative report of the incident by the Naval inspector general.

A few hours later, Adm. Baucom left his room naked and was unable to go back inside as the door automatically locked behind him, according to the report.

He proceeded to wander the grounds of the hotel, searching for a towel to cover himself, when he was spotted by two female guests who reported him to hotel security.

After a disciplinary hearing last month, the Navy found Adm. Baucom guilty of disorderly conduct and conduct unbecoming of a military officer. Navy officials said he has been transferred from his post and reassigned to the Pentagon, The Washington Post reported.

In a statement, Adm. Baucom said he accepted “full responsibility and accountability for my actions.” He also said that four doctors have concluded that his drinking that night was probably exacerbated by a heart problem that left him lightheaded, disoriented and confused.

“I have served the Navy for more than 34 years and am proud of our institution,” Adm. Baucom said, The Post reported. “I deeply regret my actions caused discredit to the Navy I love.”

Adm. Baucom told Navy investigators that he had been drinking wine, whiskey and gin while attending a dinner for the National Defense Transportation Association’s Transportation Advisory Board.

In their report, investigators said that Adm. Baucom was taking prescription medication that might have worsened his reaction to the alcohol, making him drowsy or dizzy, but said there was “no question” that he was drunk.

Adm. Baucom told the investigators that he didn’t feel the effects of the alcohol until it hit him “like a ton of bricks” while he was sitting at the hotel bar.

He said that after being escorted back to his room he fell in to a deep sleep for several hours, then woke up to use the bathroom, but instead found himself locked out in the hallway.

In an email sent to a colleague a few days later, Adm. Baucom said that the reason he was naked was because he had not packed any pajamas, fearing the extra clothing would put his baggage over the weight limit, according to The Post.

“Lesson learned,” he said. “I’ll pack my PJs next time.”

Adm. Baucom is the fifth admiral or general to lose their job or get punished by the armed forces for alcohol-related behavior in the past two years.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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