Navy commander to female junior officer: “If I give you your SWO pin, will you sleep with me?”

A Navy warship commander’s drunken night at a Virginia bar with junior officers has led to what appears to be the downfall of his 25-year military career.

Capt. Brian Sorenson, commander of the USS Anzio,  is accused of propositioning one of his female officers for sex in exchange for career advancement, according to the Navy Times.

An investigation, conducted by Carrier Strike Group 8, Anzio’s parent command, ultimately ended with Sorenson’s firing in mid-September, the Times reported.

An admiral reportedly recommended that Sorenson be “separated from the service” after he was found guilty of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice, last month.  Lt. Cmdr. Myers Vasquez, a spokesman for Naval Surface Force Atlantic said on Jan. 4, Sorenson was “found guilty of violating the service’s sexual harassment guidelines, of committing sexual misconduct and of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.”

In a heavily redacted  report, the investigating officer wrote that Capt. Sorenson, a 1991 Naval Academy graduate, “should not return to command of USS Anzio or any other command, at sea or at shore.” Sorenson will likely face an administrative board to determine if he should be retained.

The USS Anzio was set to deploy to the Middle East last November, where the ship and its crew of about 350 would be part of the Truman carrier strike group and tasked with providing air defense for the aircraft carrier. Before deployment, some crew members went out for a promotion party at a bar in Yorktown, VA. It was during this so- called “wetting down ” that Sorenson began a conversation with one of the women who worked for him.

On the night of August 30, the ship’s officers “hopped in a government van at 6 p.m.” and when they arrived at the bar, several enlisted crew members were there drinking as well, according to the report.

Sorenson allegedly started ‘quizzing’ the woman about the responsibilities expected of her. One of the officers there that night says he overheard Sorenson making “explicit remarks,” and that the night was clearly turning into a “sludge-fest.”

Sorenson reportedly asked the woman to meet him on a bench outside of the bar. The two shared a cigarette, witnesses said.  When Sorenson asked if she would sleep with him, the woman told investigators she thought it was a joke. She responded to him: “I would in exchange for my pin,”  referring to the SWO pin — which denotes an officer has “achieved all basic qualifications required of the service’s surface warfare community.”

The next day, Sorenson reportedly “summoned her to his stateroom” and told her to hang a “Privacy Please” sign on the door.  That’s when he propositioned her.  In her official statement to investigators the woman said, Sorenson asked :  “If I give you your SWO pin, will you sleep with me?” She refused and “left the room distraught.”

As the allegations spread among the crew, other female officers started coming forward to report occasions where  Sorenson exhibited “creepy behavior” and made them feel uncomfortable.

Sorenson has been given a punitive letter of reprimand, according to Vasquez.  He elected not to submit a statement to investigators, however, in a synopsis of the investigators’ interview with him– Sorenson admitted “drinking too much” but declined to answer questions about the allegations he made sexual advances.

According to his attorney, Sorenson plans to appeal the case.


  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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