Navy SEAL Commodore for Special Warfare Group Fired for 'Behavior Related' Issue

Naval Special Warfare Group Eight’s new pennant
Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, and Naval Special Warfare Group Eight’s (NSWG-8) Command Master Chief Brandon Barker unfurl the command’s new pennant during an establishment ceremony for NSWG-8 onboard the Silver Strand Training Complex, Aug. 25, 2021. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Keypher Strombeck)

The Navy SEAL commodore for Navy Special Warfare Group Eight was relieved of command Wednesday for a "loss of confidence in his ability to command," according to a press release from Naval Special Warfare Command.

Capt. Richard A. Zaszewski was relieved of his command by Rear Adm. Keith Davids, head of Naval Special Warfare Command, for a "behavior related" offense, a Navy spokesperson told

"Capt. Zaszewski was relieved because of a loss of confidence in his ability to command," Lt. Cmdr. Chelsea Irish, a spokesperson for Navy Special Warfare Command, told in an email. "The decision was made with careful consideration of the facts and the imperative to uphold the high standards of Navy leadership."

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Irish said she could not offer more details on the firing. Zaszewski could not be reached for comment.

According to his service records, Zaszewski, who is a Navy SEAL, spent nearly 20 years assigned to "East Coast-based Special Warfare Units."

Typically, Naval Special Warfare Command does not identify which teams SEALs are assigned to in publicly provided service records.

Zaszewski has previously been awarded the Silver Star, three Bronze Stars with one "V" device for valor, a Combat Action Ribbon, and campaign medals for Afghanistan and Operation Inherent Resolve, among other awards, according to his service record. The Silver Star Medal is the third-highest award a service member can be awarded for displaying heroic acts of valor in combat situations.

Deputy commodore Capt. Stig Sanness assumed the duties of commodore for NSWG-8, Irish said.

Naval Special Warfare Group Eight was established in 2021 and formed through the combination of NSWGs Three and Ten.

"Naval Special Warfare is deliberately and urgently transforming to meet new threats and deliver distinctive options that expand our national advantage in strategic competition and increase joint force survivability and lethality in crisis and conflict," Rear Adm. H.W. Howard III, then-commander of NSWC, said at the unit's establishment ceremony.

Headquartered at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Virginia, NSWG-8 is known for undersea-focused warfare, specializing in operating both manned and unmanned submersibles, in addition to conducting cyber and electronic warfare operations.

The sudden change of command has "no impact to NSWG-8's mission readiness," the Navy said in the press release.

This was at least the fifth firing of a high-ranking Navy commander in 2024. The service fired the commanding officer of one of its guided-missile submarines last week, offering no more explanation than its boilerplate "loss of confidence" remark. The submarine commander's firing followed the relief of the commanding officer of the Japan-based destroyer USS Howard on Feb. 6 and the commanding officer of the USS Georgia sub's blue crew in January.

In response to an inquiry by as to whether policy or standards changes are behind the recent influx of high-ranking officers being relieved of command, the Navy said it is simply holding officers accountable.

"There is no change to U.S. Navy accountability policy," the service spokesperson told "[Officers] are expected to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, reliability and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable when they fall short of those standards."

Editor's note: This story was updated with a correction to information provided by the Navy.

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