BREMERTON — The commander of the USS Bremerton was relieved of duty last summer after admitting to Navy investigators he paid for “female accompaniment” while the boat was in port in the Philippines.
Capt. Travis Zettel was relieved of duty in August following a loss of confidence in his ability to command the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine, which is now tied up in Bremerton for decommissioning.
The incident occurred March 1 while the sub was ported in Subic Bay, according to documents released to the Kitsap Sun under a federal Freedom of Information Act request. NCIS agents interviewed a tipster to the Department of Defense Inspector General’s hotline that Zettel had told him and another sailor at a hotel pool that Zettel had “requested/ordered ten girls to arrive at the hotel.” Later, at dinner, the sailor saw Zettel with around 10 “provocatively dressed females outside the front door of the hotel.”
Another sailor, whose name was redacted in the documents released to the Kitsap Sun, was spotted with three “local females holding onto his arm as he was wandering around” greeting sailors from his command.
A criminal probe was launched in May, about a month after the submarine arrived in Bremerton for decommissioning. Zettel was confronted by NCIS with the allegations and “admitted culpability in the payment of female accompaniment,” the documents said. The other sailor was also interviewed but said he “did not participate in prostitution.” He then asked for a lawyer. That sailor was not “pursued for disciplinary action.”
Zettel was reprimanded and was relieved of his command in August. He was administratively reassigned to the staff of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor-based Submarine Squadron 19, Navy officials said.
The Bremerton, while on active duty, was the oldest submarine in the Navy fleet at 37 years of service.