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Federal Times: Once Shunned, Navy Whistleblower Honored

February 01, 2008
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By ELISE CASTELLI

A retired Navy employee — once shunned by his colleagues for blowing the whistle on poor aircraft maintenance — was honored by the Navy Feb. 1.

The Navy issued a commendation to Richard Conrad for exposing problems that led the Navy improve the repair and overhaul process for F/A-18 fighter jets.

In 2005, Conrad told the Office of Special Counsel that he and fellow mechanics at the Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center in San Diego did not have the right tools to repair parts of the planes. OSC and the Naval Office of Inspector General not only proved Conrad’s claims, but showed that some managers knew the work wasn’t being done properly as early as 2003.

But Conrad still isn’t satisfied, saying the Navy didn’t do enough to spread the word about changes to the repairs processes and didn’t review jets in the field for evidence of poor repairs.

“It took several years of pounding my head against a brick wall before they even provided us with the tools we needed to do the job,” Conrad said in a statement released by the Government Accountability Project. “I’m not satisfied that enough has been done.”

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