In a statement, U.S. Navy officials confirmed that the 7th Fleet’s USS Milius guided-missile destroyer’s command master chief was fired on Friday for “misconduct.”
Lt. Cmdr. Matt Knight, the public affairs officer for Commander Task Force 70, said Master Chief Petty Officer Jason Pick was removed from his position of command master chief aboard the destroyer, which he has held since 2016, and reassigned to Destroyer Squadron 15, according to Military.com.
Pick’s misconduct charge was uncovered during an investigation, the Navy said. Knight said he could not give any further information at the time because the investigation was still active, Stars & Stripes reported.
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) December 30, 2018
Task Force 70 commander Rear Adm. Karl Thomas ordered the relief from the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. Pick’s position will be temporarily filled by Destroyer Squadron 15 Command Master Chief Micky Jones, according to Knight.
Pick, from Pomona, California, served in the Navy for more than 20 years with notable duties aboard the USS Carl Vinson, the USS Constellation, the USS Nimitz, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and the USS Ronald Reagan.
“Pick earned the rank of master chief during the four years he spent aboard the USS Ronald Reagan,” according to the Navy.
He was named the Center of Naval Engineering’s Instructor of the Year in 2004.
The USS Milius departed from San Diego to the Yokosuka Naval Base just months ago to narrow the gap left behind by two missing vessels, the USS Fitzgerald and the USS McCain, who collided with civilian ships in separate incidents.
Those incidents may have played a role in the policies affecting those in command, like Pick, on guided missile destroyers.
On June 17, 2017, the USS Fitzgerald crashed with a Philippine container ship where seven sailors lost their lives. Then, on Aug. 21, 2017, the USS McCain collided with an oil tanker and 10 sailors were killed.
Immediately following the collisions, several top officers from the Fitzgerald and McCain were let go.
The Navy found fault with “numerous failures” that “occurred on the part of leadership and watch standers,” according to an unclassified report.
After a year following the crashes of the two ships, the Navy has announced that “the commanding officers would face courts-martial and negligent homicide charges.”
Both reports released by the Navy said, “the accident was blamed on “loss of situational awareness in response to mistakes” while the McCain was sailing in an area with a high density of maritime traffic, “failure to follow the International Nautical Rules of the Road,” and on “insufficient proficiency and knowledge” of steering and propulsion systems by Watch standers.”