TREASURE ISLAND NAVAL STATION, Calif. — A sailor's protest of Navy dumping has ended up costing him 35 days in the brig and his Navy career.
Aaron Ahearn, 20, admitted at a court-martial that he was guilty of being absent without leave from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln for 73 days, as part of a plea bargain.
In exchange, the fireman's assistant was docked $500 pay and sentenced to the brig, to be followed by general discharge proceedings upon his release. Ahearn had three years left in his commitment to the Navy, his attorney, Robert Rivkin, said.
"It was a fair judge and a fair sentence," Rivkin said.
Ahearn joined the Navy in 1992 to learn welding. He was assigned to sewage maintenance aboard the Lincoln, and his tasks included throwing as many as 200 garbage-filled bags overboard each day, he said.
Ahearn said he witnessed other sailors routinely dumping plastics, solvents, paint, broken computers and desks into the water.
He left the carrier in protest last winter and was AWOL until he turned himself in April 21.