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Captain's Mast is the Navy term for Non-judicial Punishment (NJP). This is used when a Sailor is in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). This is only used when other options to correct deficiencies have been unsuccessful or when the violation is fairly egregious (some examples are under-age drinking, drinking and driving, adultery, UA (unauthorized absence), integrity violations (cheating/lying) and assault). The process is involved, has a few steps of review and your Sailor has the right to remain silent, the right to an lawyer and the right to appeal to a higher authority. However, there are no rules of evidence for NJP. The Captain will review the Sailor's entire record before the Mast. When they go to Mast they stand in front of a table in their dress uniform with their Commanding Officer (CO) sitting at the opposite end of the table. Their entire chain of command (including their advisor or Chief) will be posted along the left hand side of the CO. The Captain will ensure that they have been made aware of their rights and the charges leveled against the Sailor. The Captain will then ask the Sailor questions about the incident and then consult the chain of command about the Sailor's abilities, potential and effort. The CO will then make a decision about the Sailor and "award" him punishment. (We use the term award for both positive (medals) and negative (fines) things given by the CO as they are both earned.) The biggest benefit of NJP rather then Court Martial is that the CO is limited on the amount of punishment that he can award.

Firstly, I would like to say that at no point does the Navy give its Sailors only one chance and set them up for failure. Most Mast cases at training commands are based up several violations that the Sailor has shown no interest in correcting. As for the more sever issues that go straight to Mast that I talked about above, the Sailors are trained on those things being wrong and the consequence of there actions on countless occasions including "sea stories" from the staff about themselves or other Sailors. We realize that many of these are 18-19 year olds who still lack maturity and try our best to focus them into the Sailors that we need.

Second, Mast does not end the Sailor's career. It affects it, but the goal is that this will act like a spanking and convince the Sailor that they are doing the wrong thing. During the Restriction and Extra Duty they are constantly trained on military obligations and refocused in a boot camp like style. In addition the Sailor is given whatever aid is needed to help them with their issues (example Drinking and driving they see the command DAPA (Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor) and are referred for whatever treatment is deemed necessary for their problem with alcohol). The best thing you can do for them is encourage them to correct whatever problem caused them to go to Mast. Guide them to try and live within the rules rather then try and cheat the system without getting caught.

Finally, if your Sailor refuses to be a Sailor then chances are he or she will eventually be separated from Naval Service with some form of non-Honorable discharge. Please believe me that if this happens it is because we have exhausted all reasonable efforts to help them or they refused to help themselves (drinking and driving a second time after treatment results in ADSEP automatically). Additionally, we do NOT simply escort them off base and take away their seabag. We give them plane or bus tickets as far off as their home of record; prior to discharge we counseled them on getting a job related skills; we give them whatever treatment they need (counseling/drug or alcohol treatment) and will provide transportation to the airport or bus/train depot as needed. They are adults however and we have no right to contact you their parents if the Sailor does not choose to do so on their own. We counsel them to contact you but as everything else in life it is their choice.

I hope that I have been able to clear up any misconceptions or misunderstandings that are involved with Captain's Mast.
Very Respectfully,

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I realize this is an old post but I was looking up online "What is Captain's Mast" after something my sailor had shared with me and this was the second listing, after Wikipedia, that came up in my Google search. Thank you very much for this information, I am glad you posted it.

This was great information.  I hope I never need it.  Adult or not, should my sailor be reviewed as such he has more to fear from me than the captain!  ...  granted that may be more easily said than done, but I'm allowed to live in my own world!   :)

What are some violations that would merit a Captain's Mast besides those already mentioned?

Jwn's Mom - is there something specific you are wondering about? I don't know "other" violations but I believe the severity of what is punished may depend also on the "site" or base and how the incident affects others civilian or military. For example, at NNPTC the Nuclear Training program, they are very strict on owning up to your mistakes. So, if an incident occurs and they think a sailor is lying about their involvement, they may bring them up for Captain's Mast, mostly to evaluate their character. That is only my secondhand understanding but just an example. 

Certain bases and training areas around the world may have a lot stricter rules on drinking, even over age drinking, depending on how the sailors have interacted with civilians and military in the past. So, if the captain believes a strict precedence needs to be set, there may be more masts for those violations at one base or location than at others.  

I have not heard from my son since week 2 of boot camp. I told my husband I am gonna whack that kid upside his head like Gibbs does DiNozo on NCIS. My husband laughed and informed me I could get in trouble for damaging Navy property. I hope my son never sees a Captains Mast, but if he does I’m gonna whack him when I see him afterwards.

The link below is to the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). Any that would be considered non-judicial could/would be something to warrant Captain's Mast. There is also a "General Article" (134) that might/may encompass something that is not specified within other articles.

Uniform Code of Military Justice

I'm not sure where I should ppost this question, but I'm freaking out a little bit...ok, A LOT. My son is 2 months into his 7 month A School for MC. He got in trouble for going 14 miles outside the allowed 100 mile radius while accompanying his friend to the friend's parent's house for the day. (The"friend" lied about the actual destination, my son signed it without reading it. Based on what this "friend" wrote for a destination, they were more than 14 miles outside the limits). There is a lot to the story, but I don't think any of it really matters at this point. I think they were given a Captain's Mast. There were a total of four of them called to that: my son, the friend, the guy that picked them up at the bus station, and the guy that ratted them out. They were lined up in the hall, each called into the room individually to be questioned, EXCEPT MY SON. He stood in that hall for 4.5 hours while the other three were called in but then he never was. This is the first issue I have (there are others, but again, probably nothing that matters at this point.) Apparently they were threatened with being rerated. My son spoke with legal and they assured him that he would absolutely NOT be rerated over this "minor" infraction, especially considering it was a first offense.Over two weeks after this first meeting, my son, the friend, and the driver got called in for their punishment to be delivered. Driver was given 14 days restrictions. My son and his "friend" were both given 14 days restrictions and have been rerated as "Undesignated". Everyone, including legal, thinks this is an absolutely ridiculous, disproportionate punishment for what my son did. But, at this point, he was told there's nothing he can do. Nothing. So, my question is, how does going undesignated work in this situation? I'm assuming he's not allowed to apply for any rating for at least a year, probably more?? He scored in the mid 90s on his ASVAB so this just seems like such a total waste on the Navy's part. Why waste such a smart kid?(obviously not smart enough to stay out of trouble, but you know what I mean). Does he have ANY options? What is he going to be stuck doing? It's there any way to know where he will be sent? Is there a current trend as to where they are sending kids that get Undesignated as a punishment? I'm so clueless, and obviously I won't be able to get any info from him until he's off restrictions cuz they took his phone.
P.S. he has never been in trouble before this.

I have had Non-Judicial Punishment.  In the Marine Corps we call it Office Hours.  In my case there was no errors to be corrected leading up to my NJP.  It just happened from one incident.  Why?  Because the person who initiated it, was a outranking E-6, I was an E-3, who didn't like being rebuffed of his advances toward me.  He was successful in setting me up and seeing me punished.  Mind you this was 30 years ago and reporting avenues for such treatment are vastly better.  In my case he even reported me to NCIS (NIS back then) for having an affair with an E-7.  I had duty logs to account for my whereabouts in that circumstance and was newly happily married.  These Jack-wagons are few and far between these days and like I said, reporting of harassment is much more supported.

I ended up receiving a weeks forfeiture of pay, 2 weeks restriction to barracks (I lived off base with my husband) and 90 day delay of contracted promotion.  Funny that when I was moved away from his office and direct supervision, I never had another disciplinary accusation brought against me again, until that NIS report which was totally false.

Like has been said, it is Non-judicial and as long as you learn from it and move onward and upward in your Navy career, it is but a blip on your rear horizon.  If you have any questions, message me and I'll help if I can.


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