Helicopter Strike Squadron Commander Removed over Negative Culture

Cmdr. Jeffrey Franz has been removed from his post after an investigation found his leadership contributed to a negative culture within the unit. (U.S. Navy photo)
Cmdr. Jeffrey Franz has been removed from his post after an investigation found his leadership contributed to a negative culture within the unit. (U.S. Navy photo)

The commanding officer of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 70 has been removed from his post after an investigation found his leadership contributed to a negative culture within the unit.

Capt. Vorrice Burks, commodore of Carrier Air Wing 8, relieved Cmdr. Jeffrey Franz, commanding officer of the HSM-70 "Spartans," on Nov. 28 "due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command," said Cmdr. Dave Hecht, Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesman.

"An independent command investigation into HSM-70 revealed a negative culture that was inconsistent with meeting the Navy's highest standards of material, personnel and operational readiness," Hecht told Military.com on Thursday.

The unit, based out of Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, flies MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters.

"Command leaders are entrusted to uphold the highest standards of personal and professional conduct at all times" in order to meet the Navy's highest standards, Hecht said.

No other officers were involved or disciplined. Franz has been temporarily reassigned within Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Atlantic, pending administrative action, he said.

Franz joined the Navy in April 1990 and became a naval aviator in 2002. He was the commanding officer of HSM-70 for approximately two years, Hecht said.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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