After an investigation was conducted to look into the detention of 10 U.S. Sailors by Iranian forces back in January, the Commander of a Navy Riverine Squadron was relieved of duty.
In a statement, the Navy said that they have lost confidence in Commander Eric Rasch after his 10 Sailors were detained by Iranian forces for 15 hours back in January. He was relieved of duty by Captain Gary Leigh, the commander of Coastal Riverine Group 1.
The decision was made after investigating the incident that occurred between January 12-13. Ten sailors being carried by two riverine boats were captured by the Iranian military after they entered Iranian waters.
The Navy said that Rasch will now be reassigned.
U.S Central Command indicated that the two boats deviated off course while on a refueling mission during a transit from Kuwait to Bahrain, which is where the Navy’s fifth fleet is located. The boats were stopped in order to fix a mechanical issue in a diesel engine.
The details of the investigation have not been released yet and the investigation is due to be finished by the end of the month.
The Iranian government published photos of the ten sailors on their knees in a surrendering position in an effort to leverage these photos for propaganda.