The commanding officer of a Kings Bay, Ga.-based ballistic-missile submarine [USS Wyoming (SSBN 742)(Gold)] was fired Feb. 4 for mishandling classified materials, just three weeks before his scheduled relief, a Submarine Group 10 spokesman confirmed Friday.While I obviously don't know any specifics behind the classified material mishandling charge, this seems to be a little bit of piling on unless the powers that be are really trying to reinforce to all COs the specific importance of the mishandling of classified information. I always figured that the two reasons to relieve a CO early are 1) you don't believe he can fix the specific problem(s) on the boat, or 2) to send a message to current and future COs ("If you do this, you won't get a band"). To give someone a non-band relief three weeks early seems like a very clear message to send to his peers. On the other hand, if it was just a case of "he did something wrong, so we have to fire him because we always fire COs who do something mastable", I think this breeds the worst kind of "zero defect" mentality that could negatively affect the Force's war-fighting capability and could potentially limit a ship's self-reporting of problematic issues. (Not to mention it sends the message that "once someone goes to mast they're not really fit to be part of the crew anymore", a philosophy with which I strongly disagree.) I really hope that's not the case.
Cmdr. Diego Hernandez was found guilty of dereliction of duty by Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, commander of SUBGRU 10 at admiral’s mast and relieved of command, SUBGRU 10 spokesman Lt. Brian Wierzbicki said.
His relief “was slightly accelerated due to some issues with the handling of classified information,” Wierzbicki said. “The whole case, due to the sensitive nature of the allegations, is all classified.”...
...Asked why SUBGRU 10 waited to release information until queried by Navy Times, Wierzbicki replied: “He wasn’t relieved for cause, though. There’s no DFC involved,” he said, referring to the administrative measure known as detachment for cause, which is used to quickly find a relief. “It was just accelerated.”
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