Lisa Nowak attacked Colleen Shipman in 2007. A Navy board has just ruled today to give Lisa Nowak a discharge “other than honorable” in relation to the incident. Nowak was recently sentenced to 1 year probation for misdemeanor battery and felony burglary charges.
Remember Nowak? She drove from Houston to Orlando – non stop – and confronted Shipman with pepper spray wearing a trenchcoat and wig. Colleen Shipman was able to drive away.
A love triangle – or actually a love interest – was to blame for the breakdown. Nowak found out that Shipman was dating space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein. Currently, Oefelein and Shipman are still an item and are living in Alaska and operating a freelance writing and photography business – far from Lisa Nowak.
The board ruled that Lisa Nowak should be demoted from captain to commander, and her retirement payrate should be decreased. Because of the “other than honorable” discharge, she would not be eligible for GI Bill benefits.
The final say rests with Navy Secretary Ray Maybus, who could decide that she should be dishonorably discharged.
Shortly after the incident, NASA terminated Lisa Nowak. Bill Oefelein left NASA and went back to the Navy for a short while, before retiring to Alaska.
What should the Navy do? Should she really be ‘honorably’ discharged after acting this way towards a fellow officer? I would venture to say that had the attack happened between two men, the proceedings would have already taken place and the issue resolved within months.
Portions of the hearing were closed to the public, as they dealt with Nowak’s mental health. Of course, the public can only imagine what sort of state this woman was in if she was willing to drive all the way to Orlando from Houston to confront this woman. Any normal person who set out on that venture would have likely been able to calm themselves down after a few hours of driving.
Colleen Shipman is very lucky that she was attacked with pepper spray and not something else. It could have very easily have been a gun that Lisa Nowak was wielding, but luckily that was not the case.