Navy Fires Destroyer Commander Amid Investigation

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Cmdr John Gaines
Cmdr. John Gaines was relieved of command by Rear Adm. Craig Clapperton, the head of Carrier Strike Group 12, on September 3, 2020. (U.S. Navy)

The commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer Arleigh Burke was removed from his job on Thursday due to a loss of confidence in his ability to lead.

Cmdr. John Gaines was relieved of command by Rear Adm. Craig Clapperton, the head of Carrier Strike Group 12. Clapperton initiated an investigation due to self-reported personal misconduct, Cmdr. Ashley Hockycko, a spokeswoman for U.S. Second Fleet, said.

That investigation remains ongoing. Hockycko declined to provide any details about the nature of the probe.

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Gaines has been temporarily assigned to Surfaces Forces Atlantic.

Capt. Chris Follin, the commander of Destroyer Squadron 2, has replaced Gaines as the Arleigh Burke's CO. He will remain in that role until a permanent replacement is named, according to a Navy news release announcing Gaines' relief.

Gaines is the second commander relieved of command in the past week. Cmdr. Erin Borozny, the former head of Navy Operational Support Center Portland, Oregon, was relieved of command on Aug. 28.

As with Gaines, Navy officials have not provided any info about Borozny's relief other than a superior lost confidence in her ability to lead.

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

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