Investigators probing several allegations of wrongdoing by a Navy officer say they were met with a "disturbing lack of candor," leading them to doubt the validity of the commander's testimony and causing his admiral to question his professionalism.
Cmdr. Jesus "Manny" Cordero, who was relieved of command as the head of Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Sicily last fall, refused to take responsibility for even minor infractions when investigators began looking into several complaints against him, according to a command investigation and endorsement letter, obtained by Military.com through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Vice Adm. Timothy "T.J." White, who relieved Cordero of his duties in September 2018, said the commander made "repeated, vigorous and obvious false statements" during an investigation into his behavior. Those actions severely compromised Cordero's integrity and judgment as a leader," White wrote in a Sept. 27, 2018, relief letter.
Rear Adm. Erik Ross, Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), speaks to Sailors and inspectors during a brief aboard USS Cole in December 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jen Blake)
Navy Rear Adm. Erik Ross was fired as commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 2 on Friday as 2nd Fleet plans to launch an investigation into "an alleged off-duty incident calling into question his judgment," a fleet spokeswoman said.
"Beyond that it would be inappropriate to discuss any details until completion of the investigation," said Lt. Cmdr. Ashley Hockycko. "Due to the ongoing nature of investigations, it would be inappropriate to speculate on any charges at this time."
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.