Navy Removes Stennis Carrier Strike Group Commander During Deployment

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U.S. 7th Fleet

Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette

In a highly unusual move, the Navy has removed Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette from his post as commander of the Stennis Carrier Strike Group during deployment in the Persian Gulf.

City New Service reports:

Gaouette has been sent back to his home base of Bremerton, Wash., pending the outcome of an investigation into what the Navy termed over the weekend an accusation of "inappropriate leadership judgment." It gave no details of what was behind the highly unusual step of relieving a senior commander during a deployment.

According to his Navy biography, Gaouette grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of California, Davis. The Stennis Strike Group includes the San Diego-based USS Mobile Bay.

The move is virtually unprecedented, according to retired Navy Capt. Neal Zerbe, who told NBC San Diego:

“The particular commander being relieved, and you know translating that to just moving him back to a continental U.S. base while the investigation continues, is unlike anything I've ever seen before.''

For the time being, Capt. William Minter will be in charge of the Stennis Strike Group until Rear Adm. Troy Shoemaker takes over when he arrives in the Persian Gulf.

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