Navy Riverine Squadron Leader Fired Over Loss of Confidence

Cmdr. Randolph Chestang, reads his orders during a change of command ceremony in which he relieved Cmdr. Mark E. Postill as Commanding Officer of Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 3 held onboard Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach Feb. 8, 2018. Chestang was relieved of command in February 2019. (Nelson Doromal/Navy)
Cmdr. Randolph Chestang, reads his orders during a change of command ceremony in which he relieved Cmdr. Mark E. Postill as Commanding Officer of Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 3 held onboard Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach Feb. 8, 2018. Chestang was relieved of command in February 2019. (Nelson Doromal/Navy)

The commanding officer of one of the Navy's coastal riverine squadrons has been fired, service officials announced Thursday.

Cmdr. Randolph Chestang, Coastal Riverine Squadron 3's former commanding officer, was relieved of duty Tuesday "due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command," said Cmdr. Cate Cook, a spokeswoman for Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. Capt. Michael Ray, Coastal Riverine Group 1's commodore, made the decision to remove Chestang from his job.

No additional details were immediately made available as the command investigations associated with this action are not yet complete, Cook said. But commanding officers must meet high standards, she added, and their position requires the utmost in responsibility, reliability and leadership.

"The Navy holds commanding officers accountable in cases where they fall short of those standards," she said. "... The Navy places tremendous responsibility on the leadership triad of Navy commands, and strives to place its best leaders in those coveted positions. The vast majority of the Navy's commanding officers complete their assigned tours successfully."

Cmdr. Bill Swinford, from Coastal Riverine Group Two, is temporarily serving as CRS-3's commanding officer until a permanent replacement is assigned, Cook said.

Chestang, a prior-enlisted sailor, led Coastal Riverine Squadron 3 for just over a year. He has conducted mine-clearance operations in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and previously served aboard the guided-missile cruiser Philippine Sea, according to his official bio.

He completed his master's degree in national security and strategic studies while assigned to Naval War College Newport. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal with multiple awards for both.

Chestang has been reassigned to Expeditionary Warfighting Development Center (Detachment San Diego). He's the second Coastal Riverine Squadron 3 commanding officer to be relieved in the last five years.

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

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