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Navy goes on a firing spree: 5 senior leaders canned in past month
The Navy has fired five senior leaders so far in August – and the month isn't even over.
While the sea service is famous for instilling in officers that they are responsible for any wrongdoing by their sailors – whether they are aware of the infractions or not – the recent rash of firings is a lot, even for the Navy.
A Navy spokesman said there is no connection between any of the five officers relieved of command, adding that each relief is looked at separately.
"Senior leaders in the U.S. Navy, especially those in triad leadership positions – commanding officers, executive officers, and command master chiefs – are entrusted with essential responsibilities to their sailors, ships, and commands," said Cmdr. Jereal Dorsey.
"As such, they are expected to maintain the Navy's high standards for leadership, demonstrating character and competence in their conduct at all times. The Navy holds those accountable when standards are not met."
The first officer fired this month was Rear Adm. Stephen Williamson, who was relieved on Aug. 2 as director of industrial operations at Naval Sea Systems Command after an investigation found he had "a consensual, but inappropriate, personal relationship," said NAVSEA spokeswoman Colleen O'Rourke.
As of Wednesday, no charges had been preferred against Williamson, who has been transferred to the Office of Naval Research, O'Rourke told Task & Purpose.
Capt. Theron Toole was the next to fall. He was relieved as commander of the Navy Medicine Operational Training Center on Aug. 13.
Angela Steadman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, did not provide a specific reason why Toole was fired by Rear Adm. Tina Davidson, head of Navy Medicine Education.
"Simply put, Rear Adm. Davidson lost confidence in Capt. Toole's ability to command, and maintain operational readiness and the mission," Steadman told Task & Purpose on Wednesday. "It was her recommendation that he be relieved of duty as the commanding officer of Navy Medicine Operational Training Command. Capt. Toole is not under investigation and he is not being charged under the UCMJ."
Next out the hatch was Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Cebik, who was fired as executive officer of the fast-attack submarine USS Jimmy Carter on Aug. 19.
The Navy is investigating questions about Cebik's personal conduct, said Cmdr. Cynthia Fields, a spokeswoman for Submarine Forces Pacific, who could not elaborate further.
The day after Cebik was fired, two officers for a Japan-based ship were both relieved of command: Capt. Tadd Gorman, who had served as skipper of the cruiser USS Antietam for just 12 weeks; and Lt. Cmdr. Randall Clemons was relieved as executive officer of the USS McCampbell.
The two firings are not connected, said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Knight, a spokesman for Task Force 70.
"Lt. Cmdr. Clemons' performance had been evaluated by leadership at multiple levels and it was determined he was consistently not meeting the high standards which is expected of an executive officer," Knight told Task & Purpose. "This led to the loss of confidence in his ability to fulfill his responsibilities as executive officer."
"Commander, Task Force 70 conducted an investigation into Capt. Gorman and on the basis of the findings, relieved him of his duties as commanding officer," Knight continued.
The slew of firings comes at the very end of Adm. John Richardson's tenure as chief of naval operations, during which the Navy became noticeably less open with the media and general public. Last year, the service stopped making public announcements when commanders and other leaders were fired and only responded to questions after reporters learned of a relief of command.
Until then, the Navy had been known as the most transparent of the military branches. It is not yet clear whether Adm. Michael Gilday will restore the Navy's commitment to forthrightness after be becomes chief of naval operations on Thursday.
UPDATE: This story was updated on Aug. 21 with comments from Lt. Cmdr. Matt Knight of Task Force 70.
The command chief of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, was removed from his position last month after his chain of command received evidence he disrespected his subordinates.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
The "suck it up and drive on" mentality permeated our years in the U.S. military and often led us to delay getting both physical and mental health care. As veterans, we now understand that engaging in effective care enables us not just to survive but to thrive. Crucially, the path to mental wellness, like any serious journey, isn't accomplished in a day — and just because you need additional or recurring mental health care doesn't mean your initial treatment failed.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on the security alliance's allies to maintain and strengthen their "unity," saying the organization is "the only guarantor of European and transatlantic security."
Stoltenberg told reporters on November 19 that NATO "has only grown stronger over the last 70 years" despite "differences" among the allies on issues such as trade, climate, the Iran nuclear deal, and the situation in northeastern Syria.
He was speaking at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels on the eve of a NATO foreign ministers meeting aimed at finalizing preparations for next month's summit in London.
WASHINGTON — More than $35 million of the roughly $400 million in aid to Ukraine that President Donald Trump delayed, sparking the impeachment inquiry, has not been released to the country, according to a Pentagon spending document obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Instead, the defense funding for Ukraine remains in U.S. accounts, according to the document. It's not clear why the money hasn't been released, and members of Congress are demanding answers.
The admiral in charge of Navy special operators will decide whether to revoke the tridents for Eddie Gallagher and other SEALs involved in the Navy's failed attempt to prosecute Gallagher for murder, a defense official said Tuesday.
The New York Times' David Philipps first reported on Tuesday that the Navy could revoke the SEAL tridents for Gallagher as well as his former platoon commander Lt. Jacob Portier and two other SEALs: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch and Lt. Thomas MacNeil.
The four SEALs will soon receive a letter that they have to appear before a board that will consider whether their tridents should be revoked, a defense official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.