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The Prospective VA Chief Has An Extremely Ballsy Nickname

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 02:02 PM PDT

Nicknames, especially in the military, are a cherished tradition. But they're also an art form: they're usually ironic, or have a hilarious (and often) self-deprecating story attached to them. And the prospective chief for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, is no exception.

Related: Trump's VA Pick Faces A Dilemma Most Troops Would Love To Have »

A recent Washington Post profile of the White House physician got the scoop on how Jackson, a career Navy officer and distinguished surgeon who's stitched up bodies from Iraq to Washington, earned his own nickname with a little help from President George W. Bush:

One trait universally cited is Jackson's storytelling ability. He has regaled colleagues with one particular tale about administering stitches on an intimate part of his body. He even recounted it for Bush after cutting himself with a hoe at the president's ranch in Texas.

As he prepared to stitch up his leg, Bush protested. "It's okay, I've sewn myself up before," Jackson replied, then told the president about his earlier injury, according to people familiar with the episode. That earned him an admiring nickname from Bush: Scrote.

There you have it: Our prospective Veterans Affairs secretary, who will appear before the Senate for his confirmation hearing on April 25, is nicknamed after the bag of skin containing a set of (hopefully brass) balls.

I'm not even mad, I'm impressed! And besides, it could have been worse for Jackson: his nickname could've been Rub One.

The post The Prospective VA Chief Has An Extremely Ballsy Nickname appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Iraq Just Dropped Bombs In Syria — With Help From The Assad Regime

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 02:02 PM PDT

It’s not the progress we expected, but it’s the progress we got: The Iraqi military the U.S. helped create is now dropping bombs on the ISIS terrorists the U.S. also helped create, in coordination with a homicidal tyrant we just bombed last week.

The office of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on April 19 that the country's "heroic air force" had carried out a series of deadly strikes against "the sites of the terrorist [ISIS] gangs in Syria on the Iraqi border."

Shortly after announcing the strikes, the Iraqi Air Force released footage of its brand-new F-16IQ Block 52 fighter jets en route to their targets in Syria. According to The War Zone, the footage reveals a payload of several GBU-12 500 lb laser-guided munitions, as well as a Lockheed Martin Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) that has proven essential for target detection and identification in counter-insurgency operations.

This is absolutely some Good Shit: After all, the Pentagon just admitted on April 17 that ISIS has maintained at least some foothold in Syria, and allowing them to persist unmolested will only cause the country to backslide into chaos.

But these strikes weren't ordered up unilaterally by al-Abadi to reinforce Iraq's delicate security situation or flaunt his new air force; indeed, Reuters notes that the strikes "were carried out in coordination" with the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad — you know, the guy we literally just bombed for his alleged chemical attacks on civilians.

For now, the DoD doesn't seem too bothered that its client state Iraq just coordinated with the regime it just bombed. Indeed, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve issued a statement on April 19 saying that the U.S.-led coalition "will not rest until we eliminate [ISIS] not only in Iraq, but in the region.

But all of this makes for an increasingly crowded airspace above Syria. As part of those combined strikes by U.S., U.K., and French forces on April 13, aircraft from all three nations deployed munitions against the sites — including the recently-deployed B-1B Lancer that's been absent from air operations in the Middle East for more than two years. In addition, the Israeli military has increasingly targeted Iranian air defense systems in Syria in recent weeks to prevent Iran from gaining a strategic foothold in the war-torn country.

And that crowded sky underscores the growing complexity of the battlespace there as the U.S. and its allies attempt to juggle both counter-ISIS operations and a delicate geopolitical dance around the Assad regime and its entanglements with Russia and Iran. Indeed, the  shootdown of a Syrian Air Force Sukhoi SU-22 fighter-bomber outside by U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet in July 2017 and clashes between U.S. military advisors and pro-regime forces at the At Tanf garrison in that summer underscored how the overlapping campaigns in the country have the risk of turning into an accidental conflict.

 
And it's not just outright conflict but the risk of OPSEC problems. "It seems the U.S. led coalition had at least something to do with the strikes, or at least it has tacitly agreed with them," as The War Zone notes. "Intelligence sharing is possible, but it would be quite focused/limited considering the Assad regime and Russia could also end up obtaining it."

Good on Iraq for slapping ISIS in the face, but their entry into Syrian airspace may end up causing more problems than it solves. The more variables in the battlespace, the more opportunities there are for things to go wrong — and after several years beating ISIS to the point of near-death, something going wrong is the worst thing that could happen right now.

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The post Iraq Just Dropped Bombs In Syria — With Help From The Assad Regime appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Marine Armed With Assault Rifle Charged After Fleeing Troopers In High-Speed Chase

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 10:56 AM PDT

A Camp Lejeune Marine who was armed with an assault rifle has been charged after fleeing from the Highway Patrol in a high-speed pursuit over the weekend in Carteret County, North Carolina.

Lance Cpl. Michael H. Sells, 19, was speeding down Nine Mile Road in Newport at more than 100 mph about 4:30 p.m. Saturday and took off at a higher speed toward N.C. 24 to avoid being stopped, said Trooper Ryan Onofrio.

"I clocked him going 123 mph and when I turned around to stop him he started accelerating and turned onto (highway) 24," Onofrio said.

Onofrio said a pursuit began and Sells continued down N.C. 24 into Cape Carteret and crashed when he attempted to turn right onto Enterprise Avenue between Lowe's Foods and Lowes Hardware at a high rate of speed.

He hit the embankment and crashed near the bank.

Onofrio said when he went up to the car, Sells was trying to load an assault rifle but he was able to disarm him and place him in handcuffs and no shots were fired.

Onofrio said there were several pedestrians nearby who stepped in to help after the car crashed.

Sells was driving a Nissan 350Z and was not injured in the crash. He was arrested and held in custody in Beaufort until he was turned over to his command.

Onofrio said Sells traveled at speeds up to 140 mph and the posted speed limits ranged from 35 mph to 55 mph.

No other vehicles were hit and there was no property damage other than to Sells' car.

Onofrio said alcohol use was not a contributing factor.

Sells has been charged with felony fleeing to elude arrest, careless and reckless driving, speeding, improper passing, failing to heed lights and sirens, exceeding the posted speed limit and resist, obstruct and delay.

Bond of $1,000 was set.

———

©2018 The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The post Marine Armed With Assault Rifle Charged After Fleeing Troopers In High-Speed Chase appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Dino Puppets, Angry Veterans, And Fat Generals: The Tennessee Debacle

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 10:31 AM PDT

The video above pretty much sums up my feelings on the whole dino puppet reenlistment ceremony non-scandal. For the more cerebral and less inflammatory version of this, I highly suggest you read Adam Weinstein's take on the matter, if only because Adam writes gooder than me.

Read more from Task & Purpose:

The post Dino Puppets, Angry Veterans, And Fat Generals: The Tennessee Debacle appeared first on Task & Purpose.

This Is One Of The Best Everyday Carry Pocket Knives Available, And Not Because It’s Sexy

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 09:58 AM PDT

The Gerber EAB (Exchange-A-Blade) Lite Pocket Knife has become my favorite everyday carry, and not because it’s sexy and built for stabbing bad guys. It’s because, in almost all the occasions you need a pocket knife, the Gerber will do the trick.

I used to have a knife problem. I would overthink my knife needs, and I’d end up with a number of knives that didn't really work for me.  You have to be honest with yourself about what your needs are for a knife — and, of those needs, which ones come up repeatedly and regularly.  When we do this exercise, we find our knife isn't usually used for stabbing bad guys in the throat … it is more like cutting boxes open that the UPS dude delivered.

gerber eabGerber

The Gerber EAB (Exchange-A-Blade) Lite Pocket Knife

That’s where the Gerber EAB comes in. At just under 3 oz of stainless steel with a handy pocket clip, there’s no fumbling with extra attachments or excess caution with a long blade. It exists for one reason: to cut. And sometimes, that’s enough.

You can go here to pick up the Gerber EAB Lite Pocket Knife. But if your day may involve some stabbing, you'll want something other than the EAB Lite…

Ivan Loomis is a former Marine who also served in the Air Force. This review originally appeared on Kit Badger.

The post This Is One Of The Best Everyday Carry Pocket Knives Available, And Not Because It’s Sexy appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Air Force Officials Screwed Up Facts About US Aircraft And Weapons Used To Strike Syria

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 09:47 AM PDT

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

The F-22 Raptor did have a role in the Syria strikes after all, and the extended range version of the Joint-Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range wasn’t used, according to new statements from U.S. Air Forces Central Command.

The stealth fighter was providing overwatch for U.S. and partner troops on the ground while the U.S., UK, and France were launched strikes on chemical weapons facilities in western Syria, officials said.

Meanwhile, the JASSMs used in the April 14 strikes “were, in fact, not JASSM Extended Range (JASSM-ER) munitions, [but] rather, the munitions used were JASSM-A, or the standard, non-extended range versions of the munition,” AFCENT spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said Thursday.

The use of 19 JASSMs still marked the first operational use of any variant of the missile, Graff said.

Related: Before-And-After Satellite Photos Reveal Aftermath Of US Strikes On Syria's Chemical Weapons Sites »

AFCENT officials said that they wanted to correct the record after Military.com asked the command earlier this week about the F-22 missing out completely on the high-profile operation.

Lt. Col Damien Pickart, also an AFCENT spokesman, originally told Military.com on Monday the Air Force’s premier fifth-generation fighter was not flying alongside a pair of B-1B Lancer bombers that dropped missiles on the Syrian targets, nor was it in the area.

Graff, told Military.com on Thursday that, “U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors played an integral role in protecting ground forces during and after the multinational strikes against Syrian chemical weapons production facilities on the morning of April 14.”

Graff did not say how many F-22s were airborne, nor in what regions in Syria they conducted the overwatch mission.

“Thanks to its unique fifth-generation capabilities, the F-22 was the only airframe suited to operate inside the Syrian integrated air defense systems, offering an option with which to neutralize [Integrated Air Defense System] threats to our forces and installations in the region, and provide protective air support for U.S., coalition and partners on the ground in Syria,” Graff said.

Related: This Gulf War-Era 'SNL' Sketch Perfectly Captures The Media Frenzy Of The Syria Strikes »

It is unclear why the Pentagon or AFCENT officials did not initially disclose the F-22’s role when speaking in detail about the strike during a briefing on Saturday.

It is also unclear why officials touted the Lockheed Martin-made JASSM-ER.

When asked directly by the New York Times during a briefing at the Pentagon on Saturday, whether the JASSM used was Lockheed’s latest version, Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the Joint Staff Director, confirmed its first deployment.

“So we did employ the JASSM-ER,” McKenzie replied.

This story originally appeared on Military.com

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The post Air Force Officials Screwed Up Facts About US Aircraft And Weapons Used To Strike Syria appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Army Memo Saying Soldiers Got Bad Anthrax Vaccinations Is Horsesh*t

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 09:09 AM PDT

For more than a week, the rumor wound its way through online networks of service members and veterans: Soldiers could now claim a 100% disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs if they were given bad batches of the anthrax vaccine from 2001 to 2007.

That was according to an internal memo from an operational Army unit— a legit guidance, drafted April 10 by the 2nd Battalion, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade at Osan Air Base, South Korea. The memo was posted online and has caused quite the brouhaha on social media.

But while the 2/35 used information that it thought was accurate, the Army now says that memo was, to use a scientific term, bullshit.

"Defense Health Agency representatives have verified the information is false and completely without merit," said Christina Wright, a spokeswoman for 8th Army in South Korea. "Once the brigade discovered the error, the correct information was published to their soldiers."

A Pentagon spokeswoman confirmed to Task & Purpose that no bad batches of the anthrax vaccine were given to service members. More information was expected to be released later on Thursday.

The April 10 memo said soldiers in the battalion who were at Fort Drum, New York, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, from 2001 to 2007 could have received bad batches of the anthrax vaccine before deploying in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, soldiers who were given the bad anthrax vaccine could receive a 100% disability rating from the VA, the memo said.

After several reporters asked the Army about the memo, Wright sent out a mass email on Wednesday night to set the record straight.

"The potential side effects of vaccines, including anthrax, are generally mild and temporary," Wright said. "While the risk of serious harm is extremely small, there is a remote chance of a vaccine causing serious injury or death. In those rare cases, VA disability or death benefits may be granted."

Task & Purpose will update this story as more information becomes available.

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The post Army Memo Saying Soldiers Got Bad Anthrax Vaccinations Is Horsesh*t appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Time To Pass The Mic To Underrepresented Vets

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 06:46 AM PDT

Look at books by military writers, and you will see a plethora of works by US-born, white, heterosexual, cisgender, Christian men — and mostly former officers at that. Many are combat veterans; a number even specifically tout conservative values, which might lead readers to believe that that narrow archetype dominates the military. Except it doesn't. In fact, this profile isn't even the majority of the military, only a plurality.

The military is a diverse, pluralistic cross-section of America. The military only publishes data on race and gender demographics, but when gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation and faith communities are considered, those numbers change considerably.

If the number of jobs previously closed to women in the Army before 2013 are any indication, approximately 90% of servicemembers do not serve in combat jobs. And whether or not servicemembers see combat, no matter their military occupational specialty, is almost entirely up to chance and timing.

For most of us, our wars looked much more like Eye in the Sky and — let's be honest — Down Periscope than Hurt Locker or Lone Survivor. Daily life in the military doesn't fit well in a Hollywood script: standing watch, making decisions in highly complex and nuanced environments, dealing with bureaucracy germane to any large organization, being led by or leading people who look nothing like us, all serving with the same flag patch on our right arm, all sworn to support and defend the same Constitution.

That is what service is.

There are millions of veterans — many people of color, women, Muslims, Jews, and members of the LGBT community — who are silenced by a loud, unrepresentative minority who continue to be given the microphone to speak for, yet obscure, all of us. This further marginalizes these veterans, because it reminds them of some of their most painful times on active duty, when they were somehow categorized as an "other."

"Combat" is not a proxy for "service." Focusing on combat obscures the nature of what the military actually does, and what is being done in the name of national security. Fixation on acts of violence, rather than the long chain that stretches from the barrel of a gun all the way back through a series of intelligence analyst, logisticians, and policy makers at the Pentagon, erases levels of participation, at best, or complicity, at worst, in our nation's conflicts.

And no group can claim a monopoly on patriotism. Alienating veterans from speaking their truth will only broaden the civil-military divide in which an ever-shrinking number of Americans serve or know someone who has served in the military. And it's not that these veterans do not want to tell their stories, but structural and social barriers exist inhibiting their ability to do so.

And we have some recommendations:

Coretta Johnson Gray (@elegantcoretta) spent 13 years as a JAG in the Air Force. She's a subject matter expert in military justice, criminal justice and race and the law.

Arti Walker-Peddakotla (@ajpeddakotla) is an Army veteran and an expert in immigrant and refugee rights, veterans issues, national security and diversity in STEM.

Drew Pham (@Drewspeak) is an Army veteran and contributing editor of the Wrath-Bearing Tree, a publication that features the voices of veterans who have experienced structural violence themselves.

M.B. Dallocchio (@mbdallocchio) spent 8 years in the Army, including one year on Team Lioness with 1st and 2nd MARDIV in Ar Ramadi. She is a social worker and subject matter expert on trauma-informed medical and mental health care, particularly pertaining to race, gender, and psychosocial rehabilitation. She has authored “Quixote in Ramadi,” “The Desert Warrior,” and “Everyday Chamorro.”

Lornett Bea Vestal (@EvolvingManLBV), a Navy veteran, is a social worker vested in matters of history, race, social justice, and environmentalism. He created The Evolving Man Project to capture a black man's journey in America and exploration of the human condition.

Sara Samora (@SaraESamora) served 4 years in the Marine Corps. She is a journalist reporting on social injustice issues as well as the military and veteran community.

Nicole Vanderheiden (@NicoleV_MN) is a former Air Force staff sergeant and an Iraq War veteran. She is executive director of Transforming Families, a nonprofit serving transgender youth and their families. She advocates policy change for trans youth, trans servicemembers, and trans veterans.

Alisha Guffey (@alishaguffey), an Army veteran, is leading a project to build a community and tell the stories of LGBTQ veterans, called the Ask & Tell Project (@askandtell_).

Joy Craig (@JoyCraigUSMC) is a retired Marine Corps officer and cannabis advocate. Joy is currently working on her memoir and focuses on writing about experiences as a Marine navigating a hyper masculine environment.

We have a responsibility to ask and uplift the broad spectrum of veteran stories. And we have an obligation to listen.

Pass the mic.

Pam Campos (@_pamcampos) is a senior political strategist concentrated in peace & security, democracy & change, Executive Director of the veterans movement organization, Common Defense, a Truman National Security Project member, and previously served as a US Air Force intelligence analyst.

Andrea N. Goldstein (@an_goldstein) is a subject matter expert in the field of security sector reform and reintegration after service. She is a Pat Tillman Scholar, Truman National Security Project member, and previously served as a US Navy intelligence officer, including as a special operations troop commander.

The post Time To Pass The Mic To Underrepresented Vets appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Want To Write For This Space?

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 05:34 AM PDT

I am interested in new and different voices to write about military affairs and national security. What works best is something that uses your own experiences and knowledge. It could be a short memoir. It could be an analysis of current news. It could even be a book review. (I plan next week to run a review of the new collection of "Terminal Lance Corporal" strips. But I'll also run an excerpt on how British strategy worked in the 19th century.)

What works best is around 600 words (people stop reading after that). The tone should be clear but not breezy — like you were talking to your girlfriend or other intelligent friend over a bottle of wine at the end of an interesting day. Make your point in the first sentence, then explore it, and support it with some evidence, in quotations or anecdotes or numbers. Then maybe briefly give a nod to the counter-arguments. Then wind it up with a one or two paragraph look at the way forward—the implications or your recommendations. As for opinion, say whatever you like–I don’t have to agree with it. It just needs to make sense.

Then e-mail it to me at ricksblogcomment(at)gmail.com.

You also can use that address to ask if a subject would be of interest.

It helps to read the column a bit to get a sharper sense of what works, and how to write for it. And of course I'd be pleased if you read it every day, to get a sense of what already has been written about. Responses to items also are good.

The post Want To Write For This Space? appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Marine Booted Over White Nationalist Ties, Alleged Role In Planning Charlottesville Rally

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 05:00 AM PDT

Michael Joseph Chesny was separated from the U.S. Marine Corps on April 5 over his association with white nationalist organizations and has been accused of playing a role in organizing the notorious Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Before Charlottesville, Chesny and another now-former Marine, Joseph W. Manning, were arrested in Graham, North Carolina, and charged with trespassing after they climbed to the top of a building on North Main Street and hung a banner with a white nationalist symbol and slogan.

Al Jazeera reported Tuesday that Chesny wrote extensively on chat app Discord, geared at gamers, under the handle “Tyrone.” News collective Unicorn Riot published thousands of leaked messages, including ones by Tyrone in which he appeared to be heavily involved in organizing the Charlottesville rally and joked about running over protesters with vehicles, referring to a North Carolina bill which proposed a law protecting drivers who hit protesters blocking roads.

Related: Marine Booted From Corps For Flying White Nationalist Banner Amid Crackdown On Extremism »

Paralegal Heather Heyer, 32, was killed Aug. 12 in Charlottesville when a car rammed a crowd of counterprotesters. Unite the Right rally participant James Alex Fields Jr. faces murder charges in her death.

Tyrone's organizing included coordinating transportation. He advised renting large passenger vans to collect demonstrators away from the rally so they wouldn't have to risk their own vehicles being damaged by counterprotesters like "antifa" groups. They clearly anticipated violence.

Al Jazeera quotes Tyrone posts giving demonstrators tips on impromptu weapons and precautions for keeping their identities secret.

According to Al Jazeera, a Charlottesville-based activist named Emily Gorcenski exposed, or "doxxed," Chesny and others using Unicorn Riot's database of leaked material. Gorcenski became a target after she asked the Charlottesville City Council to rescind the permit for the Aug. 12 rally out of fear of violence.

After seeing threats against her in the leaked message database, according to Al Jazeera, Gorcenski went to work finding the real identities of some of the white nationalist leaders. She told Al Jazeera it took about 90 minutes to expose Chesny. One of the clues was a photo Tyrone posted of the banner Chesny and Manning hung from the North Main Street building May 20 in Graham.

white nationalist banner north carolina joseph manning michael chesny marine corpsPhoto via YouTube

The banner unfired by active-duty Marines Joseph Manning and Michael Chesny in Graham, North Carolina, in May 2017.

Police told the Times-News the two Marines climbed on top of 101 N. Main St., a building adjacent to the historic courthouse, prior to Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County's Confederate Memorial Day rally without permission of the owner, Jason Cox, and let down a banner that read, "He who controls the past controls the future," a quote from George Orwell's novel "1984," and also featured an "Identitarian" symbol and the letters "YWNRU" on the side.

The acronym stands for "You will not replace us," the slogan chanted by demonstrators carrying torches in Charlottesville at protests of the removal of a Confederate monument in May, and at the Unite the Right protest Aug. 11 and 12. According to a protest leader, the slogan is an affirmation of being white.

There is no indication that Manning and Chesny had any connection to ACTBAC.

Some of the Tyrone messages in the database were about his court dates and cautioning others how to do the same thing without getting caught. He also posted about family matters, according to Al Jazeera, like the birth of twins, which paralleled posts Chesny made on Facebook.

Manning was a staff sergeant stationed at the Marine Corps Combat Engineer School at Camp Lejeune and an instructor in the program until he was "administratively separated" from the Corps over his arrest around late December, said Nat Fahy, representing Marine Corps Installations East.

Related: Troops See White Nationalism As Bigger Threat To US Than Afghanistan And Iraq »

Under a different command, Chesny appeared to be headed for a promotion to staff sergeant as his misdemeanor trespassing charge was being cleared up in Graham, but he was still a sergeant April 5, when he was separated from the Corps, Fahy said, for "his connection to white nationalist groups."

Chesny was an explosive ordnance technician stationed at Cherry Point Air Station. He enlisted in November 2007 and became a sergeant in May 2013.

Reporter Isaac Groves can be reached at igroves@thetimesnews.com or 336-506-3045. Follow him on Twitter at @tnigroves.

———

©2018 Times-News (Burlington, N.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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The post Marine Booted Over White Nationalist Ties, Alleged Role In Planning Charlottesville Rally appeared first on Task & Purpose.

And Now For Something Completely Different: A Play About WWII COs

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 04:23 AM PDT

"This Evil Thing" has gotten raves since it was shown at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The last performance is Saturday, April 21, at 7 pm, at the St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church at 1525 Newton St. NW, in DC.


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The post And Now For Something Completely Different: A Play About WWII COs appeared first on Task & Purpose.

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USS Somerset Commander Fired Over ‘Loss Of Confidence’

Posted: 19 Apr 2018 04:00 AM PDT

The Navy has fired the commander of the amphibious warship Somerset following an investigation into concerns about his command climate.

“The commanding officer of USS Somerset was relieved of his duties April 12, due to loss of confidence in his ability to effectively lead and carry out assigned duties," wrote Coronado-based Naval Surface Forces spokesman Lt. Andrew R. Degarmo in an email to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, removed Capt. William Sherrod following a probe into command climate concerns that were not tied to any one event, Degarmo said.

Formerly the Somerset's executive officer, Sherrod, 45, "fleeted up" to take command of the San Antonio-class warship on Nov. 2.

Sherrod has been temporarily reassigned to the command staff of North Island-based Naval Air Forces. He did not return telephone calls from the Union-Tribune seeking comment.

Capt. Brian Quin, Expeditionary Strike Group 3's chief of staff, has assumed temporary duties of the Somerset until a skipper can be found.

The Somerset entered General Dynamic’s NASSCO shipyard in San Diego on Oct. 6 for an extended maintenance session.

Last May, the Navy removed both the captain and executive officer of the Somerset's sister ship, the San Diego-based Anchorage, after commanders said they lost confidence in their ability to lead.

The relief of Capt. Jeff Craig and his second-in-command Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Johnson stemmed from an inspection last spring that found "improper procedural compliance" throughout the warship, according to Naval Surface Forces.

Dismissals for "command climate" problems, like that allegedly caused by Sherrod, are different.

Command climate is the culture of a ship's crew, the way that they operate ashore and at sea. The Navy charges the commander with sole responsibility for ensuring that it never becomes toxic.

A Florida native who graduated from Jacksonville University in 1994, Sherrod was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program and selected for the Surface Warfare field.

He served aboard the destroyer Gonzalez as a young lieutenant before becoming the operations officer and navigator aboard the coastal patrol ship Shamal in 1998.

In 1999, Sherrod transferred to Naval Aviation and earned his flight wings a year later. A Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk naval helicopter pilot, he was assigned to the "Grandmasters" of Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 46, based in Mayport, Florida.

Before becoming executive officer of the Somerset in mid-2016, he served at sea aboard the frigate Dewert, destroyer Winston S. Churchill, carrier Carl Vinson and the cruisers Hue City and Vella Gulf

He became chief of operations in Iraq for Joint Task Force Balad in late 2009.

He took command of the North Island-based Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 49 three years later.

Under his leadership, the "Scorpions" received the "Golden Wrench" award for expeditionary units in Helicopter Strike Wing Pacific.

The award honors units with maintenance excellence. His squadron also earned a Chief of Naval Operations Aviation Safety Award and a Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation.

Sherrod's awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medals and several Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals.

———

©2018 The San Diego Union-Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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