News Branch Navy

Navy fires captain of guided missile submarine after DUI arrest

Navy Capt. Geoffry Patterson, who originally joined the service as an enlisted sailor, was fired as the commanding officer of the USS Georgia’s Blue Crew.
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Geoffry Patterson
Then-Cmdr. Geoffry Patterson during a change of command ceremony for the USS Maryland. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Bradley J. Gee/U.S. Navy)

The captain of a guided missile submarine, the USS Georgia, was fired from the position, the service announced on Monday, due to “a loss of confidence in his ability to command.”

Navy Capt. Geoffry Patterson was relieved as the commanding officer of the Georgia’s Blue Crew by Navy Rear Adm. Thomas “T.R.” Buchanan on Jan. 12. according to a Navy news release.

“Capt. Geoffry Patterson was relieved from command and an investigation is being conducted,” said Navy Lt. Spencer Marion, a spokesman for Submarine Group Ten. “As a matter of policy, the Navy does not comment on ongoing investigations and does not speculate on any administrative and/or disciplinary actions.”

Although the Navy did not provide a specific reason why Patterson was fired, the website for the Camden County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia shows that he was arrested on Jan. 8 by the St. Marys Police Department on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence and other offenses. He was released the following day after posting bond.

Military.com first reported on Tuesday that Patterson had been arrested.

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Patterson originally joined the Navy as an enlisted sailor, rising to command on both the Georgia and the USS Maryland. Guided missile submarines have two full crews that alternate manning the boats, each designated by a color.

The Navy has four guided missile submarines, all of which were originally Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, but were converted to non-nuclear capable boats. The Georgia was converted in 2007. Each guided missile boat can carry up to 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles and train to deliver special operations forces on covert missions.

“Navy commanding officers are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct,” the news release says. “They 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.”

So far, Navy officials have not provided a specific reason for Patterson’s relief. The phrase “loss of confidence” is a euphemism commonly used by the military branches when leaders are fired that avoids providing an exact reason why. Media outlets can submit a Freedom of Information Act request to find out more information about reliefs of command, but the process can take months, if not longer.

Originally from Chicago, Patterson assumed command of the USS Georgia’s Blue Crew in May 2022, according to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. 

He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and naval science, and he later earned a master’s degree from the U.S. Naval War College in national security and strategic studies.

USS Georgia is now commanded by Navy Capt. Christopher Osborn, commanding officer of the boat’s Gold Crew, the Navy’s news release says.

UPDATE: 01/17/2023; this story was updated with information from the Camden County Sheriff’s Office about Capt. Geoffry Patterson’s Jan. 8 arrest for driving under the influence.

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