The Navy has fired nearly a dozen officers in leadership positions in less than three months, including five in one week, due to a “loss of confidence” in their ability to command — an unusual string of terminations across land, air and sea teams, experts said.
At least nine commanding officers and two senior advisers have been relieved of their duties since April, when a cluster of suicides on the USS George Washington warship sparked widespread concerns of a mental health crisis.
A total of 13 commanding officers have been fired so far this year, including 12 in the Navy and one in the Marine Corps, the Navy said. Most recently, four Naval commanding officers and a top leader were ousted from June 8 to June 14.
It’s unclear what prompted the personnel changes, which the Navy said were unrelated to each other. The Navy did not elaborate further on specific conditions that led to the firings, but stressed the importance of “trust and confidence” across all levels of the chain of command.
“The U.S. Navy has long maintained high standards for all its personnel. Those who fall short of these standards are held accountable,” said Lt. Cmdr. Devin Arneson, a Navy spokesperson, who added that such an action is “neither punitive nor disciplinary.”
None of the leaders served the George Washington, where at least five crew members died by suicide in the last year, angering some sailors and advocates who work to reduce military suicides.
“How many service members have to die before this commanding officer is held accountable?” said Patrick Caserta, who along with his wife has been advocating for better mental health treatment in the military, after their son died by suicide while serving the Navy in 2018.
“You cannot hand-pick some commanders as fall guys and leave others untouched,” Caserta said.
At least one George Washington sailor, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation, said he partially blames his commanding officer, Capt. Brent Gaut, for the rash of suicides, which include three within a span of a week in April.
The sailor and the Casertas believe Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith should also be fired, following controversial remarks he made during an address to a fragile crew in April. Smith, the service’s senior enlisted leader, is responsible for matters dealing with enlisted personnel and their families.
The sailor said his shipmates still talk about Smith’s comments that sailors should have “reasonable expectations,” and that they were not “sleeping in a foxhole like a Marine might be doing.”
In separate news releases, the Navy gave vague explanations in at least four of the cases and blanket “loss of confidence” statements for the others.
It said an “assessment” of the current climate at the Naval Justice School led officials to fire both the commanding officer and her second-in-command on May 31. However, the Navy said neither officer was involved in misconduct.
That commanding officer, Capt. Amy Larson, had held the role for about eight months. She has been temporarily reassigned, officials said.
Earlier, a “command investigation” resulted in the April 28 termination of the commanding officer in charge of the Submarine Training Facility in San Diego, the Navy said.
In Hawaii, a “series of leadership and oversight failures” at the government-run Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility led to the April 4 dismissal of the commanding officer of its Fleet Logistics Center.
Most recently, the Navy said the commanding officer of the USS Bulkeley destroyer and his third-in-command were relieved on June 10 due to a loss of confidence in their “ability to effectively function as a command leadership team.”
Are these Navy officers all anti-vaxx? Are they cleaning out the white hats? Are they getting rid of those leaders who would have resisted the coming tyranny and who would have not layed down for the planned invasion of Taiwan by China? Because when (it’s not if!) China will invade Taiwan, these guys probably would have wanted to respond… Instead, the US will do nothing.
As you know, Obama fired a multitude of Army generals and replaced them with hand picked “leaders” who would further the ideal of “progress”. The current admin follows suit with the Navy. No surprise.
The military ceases to focus on being a fighting force and now turns to social programs. One thing you have to give the NWO folks, they are comprehensive in their efforts. [NBCNews]
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