Thursday, September 18, 2014

Navy removes destroyer's top three commanding officers mid-deployment

Published time: September 17, 2014 20:39

The guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95).(AFP Photo / STR)

In an extremely rare move, the US Navy removed a ship’s top three commanding officers from their posts while it is at sea. The Navy is conducting an investigation into the command climate aboard the USS James E. Williams (DDG-95).

Cmdr. Curtis B. Calloway was relieved as commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer, along with Executive Officer (XO) Cmdr. Ed Handley and Command Master Chief Travis Biswell. The three posts make up the leadership aboard the Williams, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer that has been underway since May 30.

Calloway was removed on Tuesday by Capt. Anthony L. Simmons, the deputy commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, who “will remain in command pending the completion of a DESRON 2 command-directed investigation into the command climate aboard James E. Williams,” the Navy said in a statement.

The military did not provide any details or explanation into the problems with the “command climate” that the three men created on board.

Capt. Anthony L. Simmons relieved Cmdr. Curtis B. Calloway as commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) at sea Sept. 16. (US Navy photo

“Removing the three positions — commander, XO and CMC — almost all at once is exceedingly rare,” the US Naval Institute (USNI) reported.

The ship is halfway through a planned eight-month deployment to the US 6th Fleet at the Horn of Africa. The purpose of the deployment to US Africa Command is to conduct training and exercises with partner nations. This is not the first time since the Williams left its home base of Norfolk less than four months ago that it has made headlines.

On June 19, Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Yeshabel Villot-Carrasco, 23, of Parma, Ohio died aboard the guided missile destroyer while it was underway in the Red Sea. Her death, of non-combat injuries, is being investigated as a suspected suicide.

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