Navy Cmdr. Angela Gonzales has been fired as commanding officer of the destroyer USS John Finn, the service announced this weekend.
Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, head of 7th Fleet, relieved Gonzales on May 19 “due to a loss of confidence in her ability to fulfill her responsibilities in leading the ship,” according to the Navy news release, which did not include any specific reasons that prompted Thomas to lose confidence in Gonzales.
No further information was immediately available on Monday about why Gonzales was fired. It is common for military branches to cite a “loss of confidence” without providing further details when announcing that an officer or enlisted leader has been relieved. Media outlets can file Freedom of Information Act requests to find out the exact reasons why a commander was fired, but that process takes time.
“The U.S. Navy holds commanding officers to a very high standard and holds them accountable when those standards are not met,” the release says. “These leaders are entrusted with significant responsibilities to their Sailors and their ships. They are expected to maintain the Navy’s high standards for leadership, demonstrating competence in their duties at all times.”
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Gonzales assumed command of the John Finn on April 1 of last year after previously serving as the ship’s executive officer.
“Thank you to the John Finn crew: You put so much heart into everything you do and today is no different,” Gonzales told the ship’s crew as she took command, according to an April 2022 video posted on Facebook. “I’m excited to be back and I am deeply honored to be rejoining such a wonderful crew. I am looking forward to facing future challenges with a tough and very resilient team. It is such an amazing privilege to be taking command of John Finn today.”
Gonzales graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2004 with an undergraduate degree in political science and went on to serve as the main propulsion officer aboard the cruiser USS Mobile Bay, the auxiliary officer aboard amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore, and the operations officer for the destroyer USS Benfold, according to her Navy biography. She also served on the pre-commissioning crew of the USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) as the ship’s combat systems officer.
Gonzales has deployed four times to the Indo-Pacific and Arabian Gulf regions in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and she received a master’s degree in security studies (western hemisphere) from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
Her military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with one gold star, and Navy Achievement Medal.
The John Finn has been forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, since March 4, when it joined Commander, Task Force 71 and Destroyer Squadron 15.
Gonzales has been administratively reassigned to commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, the Navy news release says. Cmdr. Matthew Hays will serve as the ship’s interim commanding officer.
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