Navy Cans 3 Officers on the USS Bainbridge
The USS Bainbridge, has now lost its three top officers for illegally storing fireworks and gambling aboard the vessel, in addition to a poor command environment. The Bainbridge is assigned to the Naval station at Norfolk, Virginia. They were relieved of command on Friday by Destroyer Squadron 28 head Capt. Richard Brawley after an investigation.
“Cmdr. Sean Rongers was relieved of his duties by Brawley due to loss of confidence in his ability to command following an investigation into the storage of commercial fireworks on-board the ship in violation of Navy instructions, unlawful gambling aboard the ship contrary to Navy regulations, poor program management and a poor command climate.” SURFLANT (Naval Surface Force Atlantic) press release
Ousted with Cmdr. Rongers were Cmdr. Brandon Murray, the former XO who had been set to take charge of the ship this summer, and Command Master Chief Richard Holmes. Rongers had commanded the Bainbridge since November 2014. Murray and Holmes also came on board in 2014.
The issue began with commercial fireworks stored in the ship’s magazine compartment. The three officers relieved reportedly all knew about the fireworks improperly stored there – and did nothing about it. That alone could have led to a major disaster aboard the Bainbridge.
Then there was the gambling on board the ship, which is against Navy regulations.
All three men have been reassigned to SURFLANT.
The Navy Times reported,
The current XO, Cmdr. Patrick Murphy, is still in place having checked onto the ship recently. Cmdr. Marty Robertson , former XO of the frigate Rentz, has taken charge of the ship.
Master Chief Todd Starks has temporarily assumed duties as command master chief, the release said.
According to news media, this is a rare event. The last time three officers were removed was in 2014, after a young sailor committed suicide.