WASHINGTON — The Navy's investigative board has recommended that the skipper of the frigate Stark and the officer in charge of its weapons should be court-martialed for failing to take defensive action against the Iraqi warplane that fired two Exocet missiles into the ship the night of May 17, killing 37 sailors, authoritative sources disclosed Friday.
The ship's executive officer, the second in command, should face lesser punishment, Navy investigators said in a report still formally under wraps, because he was not directly involved in the flawed decisions on how to respond to the approaching Mirage fighter-bomber, according to Pentagon sources.
The report, based on a formal investigation conducted under Rear Adm. Grant A. Sharp, sets down a long list of alleged failures by Capt. Glenn R. Brindel, 43, of Pittsburgh, the Stark's skipper, and Lt. Basil E. Moncrief, 32, of Corpus Christi, Tex., its tactical officer, who ran the combat center where weapons are ordered into action.
Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, who was traveling in Asia on Friday, will decide whether to accept the board's recommendations and go ahead with a court-martial or halt the legal process.