Knots of Hate: Navy Investigates Disturbing Discovery Aboard Destroyer USS Laboon

Knots of Hate

Knots of Hate: Navy Investigates Disturbing Discovery Aboard Destroyer USS Laboon

The recent discovery of three knots resembling nooses aboard the USS Laboon has prompted an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) into possible hate symbols on the destroyer (Toropin, 2023). According to Lt. Cmdr. Jason Fischer, a spokesman for the commander of Naval Surface Force Atlantic, the ship’s crew found rope tied similar to a slipknot in three separate instances in February, possibly meant to send a message to a specific sailor (Toropin, 2023).

On two occasions, a small rope tied in a fashion resembling a noose was found tied to the sailor’s bunk, and on the third instance, it was found on the floor in one of the living quarters aboard the ship (Toropin, 2023). Fischer confirmed that the Navy is treating these objects as “hate symbols” and began an investigation immediately after the first rope was discovered (Toropin, 2023).

While it is still unclear who is responsible for tying the knots, Fischer stated that the sailor who appeared to be the target of the ropes was offered a transfer to another ship but declined (Toropin, 2023). The Navy has declined to provide the name or race of the sailor, citing privacy concerns.

This is not the first time that incidents like this have occurred in the Navy. In 2021, a sailor on the USS Lake Champlain admitted to hanging a noose in a fellow shipmate’s bunk (Toropin, 2023). In 2017, a noose was found at a shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, but after a three-month investigation, the Navy failed to turn up any answers (Toropin, 2023).

Naval officials have taken immediate action to address the issue aboard the USS Laboon, with Cmdr. Henry Eshenour, the ship’s commander, addressing the wardroom, Chiefs mess, and first class mess, and holding an all-hands call to convey zero tolerance for racist or extremist behaviors or symbols (Toropin, 2023). Despite these efforts, two more ropes tied with knots resembling nooses have been discovered near the sailor’s bunk.

The Navy has emphasized that symbols or acts of racism have no place in the Navy and are investigated thoroughly (Toropin, 2023). While the investigation is ongoing, incidents like these serve as a reminder of the importance of fostering a culture of inclusivity and respect in the military, where every service member is treated with dignity and respect regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity.


Toropin, K. (2023, March 2). Navy Investigating 3 Instances of ‘Hate Symbols’ Aboard Destroyer.

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