WASHINGTON — The Senate Armed Services Committee recommended Thursday that Adm. Frank B. Kelso II, the Navy's top officer, be allowed to retire as a full admiral despite damage done to his record by the Tailhook scandal.
In a 20-2 vote, the committee recommended to the full Senate that Kelso retire at four-star rank, as recommended by President Clinton. If the Senate accepts the recommendation, Kelso would retire with an annual pension of $84,340. Rejection of the proposal would mean that Kelso would retire at two-star rank, which would reduce his pension by $16,873.
Most of the committee members accepted Kelso's statement that he did not witness any of the misconduct at the Las Vegas hotel where the 1991 Tailhook Assn. convention was held. The convention of Navy and Marine fliers led to scores of complaints by women that they were sexually assaulted.
"It would be totally out of character for him to deliberately deceive the investigators," Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) said.
Sens. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) voted against the four-star retirement.