Navy Sacks Great Lakes Training Support Center Commander

Capt. Mark Meskimen (U.S. Navy/Brian Walsh)
Capt. Mark Meskimen (U.S. Navy/Brian Walsh)

A prior-enlisted sailor who oversaw the training and supervision of more than 10,000 of the Navy's newest personnel has been removed from his job.

Capt. Mark Meskimen, who served as commanding officer of the Training Support Center in Great Lakes, Illinois, was relieved of command Friday “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” said Cmdr. James Stockman, a spokesman for Naval Education and Training Command. The decision was made by Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad, head of Naval Education and Training Command.

"Due to privacy of those involved we cannot comment on the details of the investigation," Stockman said. 

Meskimen declined to comment. He has been temporarily assigned to the office of the head of Naval Service Training Command at Great Lakes, Stockman said.

Capt. Edward Heflin, a naval aviator, has temporarily replaced Meskimen as the center's commanding officer until someone is permanently assigned, officials said. Heflin previously served as deputy for training operations at Naval Education and Training Command, according to his bio.

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Meskimen, who served as an electronics technician from 1982 until he was commissioned in the Limited Duty Officer Program (Surface Electronics) in 1993, commanded the Training Support Center for nearly two years. During the November 2016 change-of-command ceremony, he commented on the center's rich history.

"I will do my utmost to serve you," he said, according to a Navy news release. "Each of these students presents new challenges, each of them learn in different ways, and it takes your dedication and perseverance to ensure that they are prepared and ready to perform in the fleet."

Established in 2004, the Training Support Center provides 24-hour supervision, training and mentorship to more than 11,000 18-to 25-year-old, apprentice-level sailors. The command also provides support to Naval Education and Training Command sites aboard Great Lakes, including the Center for Surface Combat Systems, Surface Warfare School Command and Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School.

Meskimen previously served as head combat systems ratings detailer in Millington, Tennessee, where he was responsible for matching more than 33,000 enlisted sailors to their jobs, according to his official bio. Before that, he led the Center for Surface Combat Systems Unit at Great Lakes, where he was responsible for the training of more than 14,000 students annually.

He also served as the combat systems officer aboard the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson.

Meskimen's awards include five Meritorious Service Medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and various unit and campaign awards.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ginaaharkins.

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