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Another Navy commander relieved of duty to make it 15 this year

From Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
  • The Navy says the commanding officer of a recruiting district was releived of duty
  • So far this year, the Navy has relieved 15 commanding officers of duty
  • For all of last year, the number of commanding officers relieved of duty in the Navy was 17

Washington (CNN) -- The Navy said Wednesday that the commanding officer of one of its U.S. recruiting districts was relieved of duty "due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command" -- bringing to 15 the number of commanding officers removed their posts by the Navy so far this year.

During all of last year, 17 Navy commanding officers were relieved of duty for various reasons. The highest number was in 2003 when 26 commanding officers were relieved of duty.

CNN obtained a copy of a recent memo from the chief of naval operations to all potential commanders reminding them of their responsibilities.

The memo provided to CNN heavily emphasized professional ethics and personal accountability.

"Included as part of your responsibilities is the charge that you will be held accountable to the highest standards of conduct," said Adm. Gary Roughead in a memo sent out last month.

Reasons for commanders being relieved of duty have ranged from "loss of confidence in ability to command" to allegations of drunk driving, inappropriate personal relationships, mistreating sailors, and even failing to properly handle a loaded weapon.

In the latest dismissal, the Navy alleged the officer "was found to have acted in an unprofessional manner while on liberty in the presence of subordinate Navy personnel, and also, while in uniform while acting in an official capacity." The officer was reassigned to a Naval operation support center, the Navy said.

The Navy calculates there are more than 1,500 commanding officer jobs in the Navy and that less than 1% of the officers in those jobs have been relieved of command since 2005.