August has been a nightmarish month for senior leaders in the Navy, with five of their own purged from leadership positions in less than one month.

While the Navy says the firings are unrelated, the extraordinarily high volume is cause for alarm.

A Navy spokesman said there is no connection between any of the five officers relieved of command, adding that each relief is looked at separately.

“Senior leaders in the U.S. Navy, especially those in triad leadership positions -commanding officers, executive officers, and command master chiefs- are entrusted with essential responsibilities to their sailors, ships, and commands,” Navy Spokesperson Cmdr. Jereal Dorsey said in a statement. “As such, they are expected to maintain the Navy’s high standards for leadership, demonstrating character and competence in their conduct at all times. The Navy holds those accountable when standards are not met.”

The firings vary from reason to reason, with a few being rather well-documented compared to others.

Rear Admiral Stephen Williamson lost his position as director of industrial operations at Naval Sea Systems Command after it was found he was engaged in an inappropriate relationship.

Navy Medicine Operational Training Center head Captain Theron Toole was fired not long after Rear Admiral Tina Davidson lost confidence in Toole’s command abilities.

Capt. Theron Toole, Navy Medicine Operational Training Center (NMOTC) commanding officer, speaks at the 2019 NMOTC Leadership Development Symposium. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael J. Lieberknecht)

“Simply put, Rear Adm. Davidson lost confidence in Capt. Toole’s ability to command, and maintain operational readiness and the mission,” a spokesperson said in relation to the incident. “It was her recommendation that he be relieved of duty as the commanding officer of Navy Medicine Operational Training Command. Capt. Toole is not under investigation and he is not being charged under the UCMJ.”

According to Task & Purpose, fast-attack sub XO Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Cebik, cruiser skipper Captain Tadd Gorman and XO Lieutenant Commander Randall Clemons were also relieved of their respective positions.

The massive wave of sackings comes at the very end of Admiral John Richardson’s tenure as chief of naval operations.

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