Navy Fires Two Ship Commanders in One Day

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Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk
U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper meets with the U.S. Fleet Forces commander, Navy Adm. Christopher Grady, at Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia, Sept. 25, 2019. (Lisa Ferdinando/DoD)

The Navy has fired two commanding officers at two separate commands over a loss of confidence in their ability to lead, the service announced Thursday.

Capt. Michael D. Nordeen, the commander of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde, and Cmdr. Alexa Jenkins, commanding officer of the destroyer USS Carney, were both relieved by their bosses on Wednesday, the Navy said in two separate press releases.

Both officers were reassigned to shore commands -- Nordeen to the office of the commander of Naval Force Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia, and Jenkins to the staff of the commander of Naval Surface Squadron 14.

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Jenkins' relief as commanding officer comes less than a month after a fire broke out aboard her ship. Military.com later learned that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, were helping in the investigation. The agency bills itself as the primary federal source for fire investigations and knowledge, and is charged with enforcing federal arson laws.

However, Lt. Cmdr. Jason Fischer, a spokesman for Naval Surface Force Atlantic, told Military.com in a phone call Thursday that the fire and the relief "are two separate things -- they're not in any way connected."

Jenkins had been the ship's commander for just over seven months, having assumed the post on May 31, 2022, according to data provided by the Navy. However, prior to that, she had served as the ship's second-in-command for more than a year and a half.

The Navy stressed in both press releases that the firings would not impact either ship's mission or schedule and that temporary replacements have already been named.

Nordeen has been replaced by Capt. Gregory Baker, who was working as chief of staff of the squadron to which the Mesa Verde is assigned.

The Carney will be commanded by Capt. Aaron Anderson until a new, permanent commander is named.

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at konstantin.toropin@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

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