Warship Commodore Relieved of Command Duties, Navy Says

USS Winston S. Churchill (U.S. Navy photo)
USS Winston S. Churchill (U.S. Navy photo)

A commodore responsible for three Norfolk Naval Station-based warships was relieved of his command duties Wednesday, according to Lt. Cmdr. Myers Vasquez, a Naval Surface Force Atlantic spokesman.

Rear Adm. Roy Kelley, commander of Carrier Strike Group 12, relieved Capt. Anthony L. Simmons, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 2, citing loss of confidence in his ability to lead resulting from his failure to follow the exemplary conduct expected of commanders. He has been reassigned to Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

Simmons took command of the destroyer squadron, which includes the USS Mitscher, USS Winston S. Churchill and USS Forrest Sherman, in March. He was replaced by Capt. Erik Eslich, the Navy said.

Naval Surface Force Atlantic declined to make Simmons available for comment, and he could not be reached Wednesday. Vasquez said the Navy is reviewing whether he might face administrative actions.

"Due to the command investigation, I am unable to provide specific details regarding his misconduct," Vasquez said. He said the alleged misconduct did not include criminal charges.

Simmons was commissioned in 1990, according to a Navy biography. He briefly commanded the guided missile destroyer USS James E. Williams in 2014 after leading an investigation into incidents aboard the warship. Some have questioned the investigation.

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