Navy fires five officers in less than a week

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The Navy has announced a string of five officer firings in the span of less than a week, the most recent on Tuesday with the commanding officer of USS Preble guided missile destroyer.

Cmdr. Peter Lesaca was relieved of his role “due to loss of confidence in his ability to command,” according to a Navy statement.

The service did not offer details on his firing, only noting that “Navy commanding officers are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct” and are “expected to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, reliability and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable when they fall short of those standards.”

Capt. Larry Repass, deputy commodore of Destroyer Squadron 23, will assume the duties as commanding officer until the permanent and qualified relief arrives, the Navy noted.

Prior to that, on June 11 the Navy relieved Capt. Jeffry Sandin, the commanding officer of the Recruit Training Command, “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.”

The service also did not offer details of Sandin’s firing, and only said he had been reassigned to Naval Service Training Command headquarters.

Capt. Kertreck Brooks, chief of staff of Naval Service Training Command, took over Sandin’s responsibilities.

And on June 10, the USS Bulkeley destroyer commanding officer Cmdr. Devine Johnson and Command Master Chief Earl Sanders were both relieved “due to a loss of confidence in their ability to effectively function as a command leadership team,” according to a separate Navy statement.

Johnson had been the ship’s commanding officer since July 2020, while Sanders served as the command master chief since June 2021.

Capt. William “Mac” Harkin, currently Deputy Commodore, Destroyer Squadron Two was temporarily assigned as commanding officer “until a permanent relief is identified.”

Sanders, meanwhile, was temporarily replaced by Master Chief Petty Officer Christy Reed, also of CDS-2.

Both Johnson and Sanders will be temporarily reassigned to the staff of the commander of Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

“There is no impact to the command’s mission or schedule due to this relief,” the statement noted.

The Navy’s Air Wing was also shaken up by a firing last week, after the commanding officer of Electronic Attack Squadron 137, Cmdr. Matthew McCormick, was relieved on June 8 due to loss of confidence in his ability to command.

McCormick, who had been commanding officer of VAQ-137 since September 2021, was temporarily reassigned to Electronic Attack Wing Pacific at Naval Station Whidbey Island, Wash.

Cmdr. Scott Maynes, the executive officer of VAQ-137, is currently serving as the acting commanding officer until a permanent replacement is identified.

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