The three top leaders of the guided missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG-95) have been removed and reassigned halfway through the ship’s deployment pending the outcome of an investigation into “command climate,” the Navy said in a news release Tuesday.
The skipper, Cmdr. Curtis B. Calloway, was relieved at sea by Capt. Anthony L. Simmons, who will take charge of the ship for the rest of the deployment as an investigation moves forward. Calloway, along with Cmdr. Ed Handley, the executive officer, and Command Master Chief Travis Biswell, the top enlisted leader, have been reassigned to staff positions at Naval Surface Force Atlantic.
Other than announcing the high-profile firings and mentioning an investigation, the official word from the Navy offered few details. But as Sam LaGrone notes at the U.S. Naval Institute, the removal of the entire command staff all at the same time is quite rare.
The Navy Times offered one possibility as to why:
A Navy official who spoke on background to discuss a sensitive matter said there is a separate investigation being conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service into a liberty incident that occurred in the Sixth Fleet area of operations, but declined to divulge further details.
The Williams left its home port in Norfolk, Va. May 30 for an eight-month deployment in support of U.S. Africa Command.
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