Navy chief Kelso to retire early

ADM. Frank Kelso II hopes his hastened retirement will mark ``the end of Tailhook.'' But questions about the Navy's handling of the sex scandal are likely to dog the service, Congress, and Mr. Kelso for months to come.

Kelso said Tuesday that he would retire as the Navy's top officer on April 30, two months earlier than planned, to rid the Navy of a ``lightning rod'' that continued to attract controversy over the infamous 1991 Tailhook convention in Las Vegas.

Kelso's announcement came in exchange for testimonials from Defense Secretary William Perry and Navy Secretary John Dalton attesting to his personal integrity.

Pentagon officials said President Clinton is considering Adm. Jeremy Boorda, now running NATO's Bosnia operation, as the top candidate to replace Kelso as chief of naval operations. Sen. John McCain, (R) of Arizona, called Mr. Boorda ``a truly excellent choice.''

Mr. Perry said a Pentagon probe found ``no credible evidence'' that Kelso knew of the sexual misconduct at the Tailhook gathering of fliers. Nor did the probe find that Kelso sought to thwart investigations. With that vote of confidence, Kelso said he could retire with his reputation intact. Despite his own regrets at failing to anticipate the Tailhook scandal, he said, the Navy is ``moving in the right direction smartly'' on issues of sexual equality. Riley: read to your kids, limit TV

BY offering encouragement, reading to their children, and limiting television viewing, parents can help close a generation gap that is hampering America's schoolchildren, Education Secretary Richard Riley says.

``There is a disconnection ... so pervasive between adult America and the children of America that we are all losing touch with one another,'' Mr. Riley said in a State of Education address Tuesday in Washington. ``Public education does have problems,'' Riley conceded. But, he said, ``the time has come to move from the negative crisis of education to a positive solution.''

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