The Navy is investigating the possible theft and black-marketing of $176,000 worth of equipment that disappeared from the USS Kitty Hawk in the last three months of 1984, officials said yesterday.
Petty Officer Robert W. Jackson, an auditor on the aircraft carrier, which is based in San Diego, has given naval investigators ship documents reporting the "loss" of such equipment as gyroscopes worth $31,380, radio receivers worth $25,380 and valve regulators worth $3,980, according to his lawyer, Randy Whaley.
Navy officials said it is unclear what became of the equipment. They said investigators are trying to determine if Kitty Hawk personnel resold the items on the black market.
Jackson, 26, of Bakersfield, Calif., has provided evidence to investigators indicating that signatures on the documents by a commanding officer were forged, Whaley said.
Other documents that Jackson turned over to the Naval Investigative Service last month show purchases in 1983 of 31 silver bars worth $16,588, Whaley said in a telephone interview from San Diego. The bars also disappeared from the ship, he said.
Silver bars are used for plating on certain ships, Navy officials said, but have no practical purpose on an aircraft carrier and thus it is unclear why they were purchased.
News of the investigation was made public yesterday by Rep. Jim Bates (D-Calif.), who was contacted by Jackson last month. According to Bates, Jackson asked for protection because of threats on his life.
At Bates' urging, Jackson has been temporarily assigned to the security branch at North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego. He lives off-base and reports daily to his lawyer's office, Whaley said.
Bates, who made public some of the documents, said they provide "in exquisite detail information that suggests fraud, kickbacks and a variety of supply schemes that resulted in losses to the U.S. Navy that may run into the millions of dollars."