Commandant named at Academy Superintendent endorses his former executive assistant; Marines grumble; Captain to lead midshipmen

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The commander of a guided missile cruiser will become the U.S. Naval Academy's second-in-command next month in a move that keeps the school in the hands of academy-trained Navy officers for at least another year.

Capt. Gary Roughead, 45, was endorsed as commandant of midshipmen by Adm. Charles R. Larson, the academy's superintendent, who will retire next year and has told aides he intends to hand-pick the school's next leaders. Roughead served as Larson's executive assistant when the admiral was chief of the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii from 1991 to 1994.

Larson said he looked forward to Roughead's arrival, though the appointment caused grumbling from one influential retired Marine General who says the Marines should have more top appointments at the academy.

"There has to be an understanding that the Marines Corp wants to be a major player in the development of young Naval officers," said Thomas V. Draude, a retired Marine brigadier general and close friend of the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. Charles Krulak.

"I hope there is not a signal sent that the Marines' desire is being ignored or thwarted."

Roughead, a 1973 academy graduate, will replace Capt. William T.R. "Randy" Bogle, a burly helicopter pilot with show-stopping charisma. Larson brought in Bogle in August 1994 to add inspirational spark to the brigade after several scandals.

Bogle took away many midshipmen's liberties within months of his arrival. The goal was to foster "leadership by presence" among the senior midshipmen by keeping them on campus to teach younger students. Through a mix of military machismo and individual attention, Bogle managed to sell the unpopular moves to the brigade.

"We talk about leading from the front," said Bogle, a 1968 academy graduate, during a May interview. "You need to be able to show people where they need to go."

The commandant of midshipman -- the equivalent of a civilian university's dean of students -- is considered a prestigious Navy billet with daily responsibility for 4,000 officers-in-training. It is also a coveted stepping stone; Adm. Joseph W. Prueher, commandant in the late 1980s, is now chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific.

But in endorsing a commandant from the Navy, Larson has put off a Marine Corps request for more clout.

One of every four naval officers is a Marine.

Krulak, an academy graduate, has lobbied for months to secure the job for a Marine after years of sporadic trouble at the school with Navy officers in charge. Larson, who arrived for a second tour as superintendent three years ago to restore the academy's reputation, has a tense relationship with Krulak.

But a recent report prepared by a review panel studying academy life has provided the Marines with leverage.

The 20-member board revealed that the Navy left a quarter of the available military billets at the school vacant last year -- a finding that infuriated Marine leaders, who believe they take training in general and the academy in particular more seriously.

Also, student surveys show that Marines rank as the most popular company officers, the midshipmen's primary military role models.

"The academy's senior leadership should include Marines," said Draude, who sat on the review board.

A Marine has never been superintendent or commandant, even though one of every six graduating midshipmen is allowed to be commissioned into the corps. Marines have held the deputy commandant post, the third-ranking position that is also vacant, and a retired Marine colonel is the new admissions director.

Larson interviewed at least two Marines for the deputy commandant's position. Roughead was the only candidate the Navy Department recommended for the commandant's post, which will pay him about $60,000 a year.

His tour as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Port Royal, an Aegis-class guided missile cruiser stationed in Pearl Harbor, ends next month when Bogle is due to leave.

Roughead was unavailable yesterday; the Port Royal is deployed off San Diego. He has been awarded at least seven decorations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit.

He is married and has one daughter.

"I understand he is extremely well-qualified for the position," said Maj. Scott Campbell, a Marine spokesman. "By the same token we certainly push to get our Marines on the staff."

Pub Date: 7/08/97

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