Broken Silence


Broken Silence, "A Military Whistleblower's Fight for Justice," is a modern-day Scarlet Letter story of how former Navy Lieutenant Commander Sy'needa Penland was convicted of adultery after she blew the whistle on defense contracting fraud. Those who operate in darkness and seek to cheat and defraud the government, banded together to destroy the former Supply Corps officer's impeccable career and used her conviction as an "example" to others. Differing from Nathaniel Hawthorne's romantic fiction, Broken Silence is a true survival story of a courageous military whistleblower's fight for justice. Similar to Hester Prynne in the Scarlet Letter, Sy' was forced to trade her gold oak leaf and stripes she proudly wore on her military uniform for a symbolic "A" of adultery. Interestingly enough, Sy' was "single." Adultery is not a crime in civilian court, but the Navy's top brass who went after the honest financial officer knew this could be a tool that would lead to her destruction. They wanted to "muzzle" her any way they could and used the military's justice system to silence her, until now.

If ever there was an auto-biography with an appropriate title, this is it!!  We have long admired former Navy Lt. Commander Syneeda Penland for her fortitude and determination to survive being the only female Naval officer ever jailed for "adultery," but also her unique talent as a poetess.  Her gift is such that - with the proper exposure of her unique poetry writing - her name could be up there someday with such greats as the famed Maya Angelou. 

MAJ Glenn MacDonald, U.S. Army Reserve (Retired), Editor-In-Chief,



As a 31-year Army Veteran, I highly recommend this book. Broken Silence is an exceptional story of strength, courage, perseverance, and faith. From beginning to end, Lieutenant Commander Penland shares her remarkable story of doing the right thing all the time and standing by her convictions and the pledge she took as a Naval Officer. Her journey from an enlisted Sailor to a mid-grade Naval Officer serving aboard ships as well as performing in various shore duty assignments was not as easy path as she faced numerous obstacles and challenges as an African-American female. Still, she gave 110% all endeavors and never compromised her integrity or the mission. Told with complete candidness, Broken Silence is an inspiring story for both military and civilian people.

Floyd Hepler,  Sergeant Major, U.S. Army (Retired)



I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book authored by my dear friend Sy!  What she expressed in her memoir is nothing short of inspiration, courage, strength, and perseverance exhibited by a military Whistleblower who was targeted and experienced reprisal and retaliation.  Not only does this book depict a substantiated Whistleblower’s plight to expose corruption by senior-ranking officials in the Navy, it also shows the trials and tribulations of an African-American female who rose through the ranks to become a naval officer after beginning her career as an enlisted Sailor.  Sy experienced and witnessed discrimination and racism her entire career while serving in a male-dominated Navy, yet she stayed the course and served her country for almost 20 years.  This book is an absolute must-read! 

Steve Crowston, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired)

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