The Navy officer whose family and friends mounted a successful, if controversial, campaign to get him out of Japanese prison after his 2021 car accident left two dead are now outraged at what they say is another injustice — his denied promotion.
On May 29, 2021, Lt. Ridge Alkonis was behind the wheel of a family minivan returning from Mount Fuji when, in a moment of unconsciousness, he swerved off the road into a noodle shop and crushed two Japanese nationals — an 85-year-old woman and her 54-year-old son-in-law.
Since then, there was a guilty plea; a stint in Japanese jail for Alkonis; an early return to U.S. custody; and, on Jan. 12, his parole and release — all amid a family campaign that featured numerous editorials, TV appearances and presidential lobbying. Shortly after that, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro decided not to promote the now-freed Alkonis, who was set to become a lieutenant commander before the accident in 2021.
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“I reached this decision after a complete review of the facts and circumstances surrounding his case, to include forwarding this matter to a Special Selection Review Board,” Del Toro, who is the Navy's top civilian official, said in a statement provided to Military.com.
The reaction from Alkonis' supporters was swift. Andrew Eubanks, a Naval Academy classmate of Alkonis and one of his most ardent supporters on social…