By Debbie Gregory.
The leadership triad of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4 was relieved of duty after the executive officer was found wandering drunk and naked through the woods at Camp Shields in Okinawa, Japan.
Lt. Cmdr. Jason Gabbard was discovered intoxicated and unclothed in a wooded area.
Cmdr. James Cho and Command Master Chief Petty Officer Jason Holden were relieved for mishandling the incident, according to the Navy.
The firings followed “an incident of personal misconduct by the executive officer, and the subsequent mishandling of that incident,” Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) officials said in a statement.
Capt. Nick Yamodis will assume temporary command of the Seabee battalion, which is deployed to Japan from Port Hueneme, until a permanent replacement is named.
“Trust is the foundation for everything we do as military professionals, and we expect our servicemembers to conduct themselves with the integrity and character to justify that trust,” said Cmdr. Cate Cook, spokeswoman for the NECC. “Our senior leaders are entrusted to uphold the highest standards of personal and professional conduct at all times.”
The move to remove all three leaders in a unit’s command is reserved for extreme instances of misconduct or failures.
“Our senior leaders are entrusted to uphold the highest standards of personal and professional conduct at all times,” Cook added. “Meeting these high standards of conduct is as critical as meeting our high standards of material, personnel and operational readiness.”
The Navy relieved the command triad of the destroyer Fitzgerald in one fell swoop last August following a deadly ship collision that left seven sailors dead. The former commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, is now facing a charge of negligent homicide.
Prior to that, the command triad of the destroyer Bainbridge was relieved in 2016 amid a scandal involving fireworks and gambling aboard the ship.
All three senior leaders have been temporarily assigned to Naval Construction Group 1 in Port Hueneme, California.