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Navy relieves Mayport commander of USS Paul Ignatius of his duties after 6 months

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) transits the Atlantic Ocean, June 12, 2021. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan T. Beard/Released)

The man who commanded the Naval Station Mayport-based USS Paul Ignatius has been relieved of command six months into his appointment, according to the U.S. Navy.

Cmdr. Jeffrey Servello was removed from duty on Jan. 6 “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” according to a brief Navy statement.

Servello’s removal comes after an investigation into the ship’s performance during a 2021 exercise in which the crew had made mistakes during an anti-air warfare drill in the Atlantic, according to the U.S. Naval Institute News.

Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, commander of Naval Surface Force Atlantic, said Cmdr. Eric Meyers will be temporarily assigned as commanding officer until a permanent replacement is identified. Servello will be temporarily moved to the staff of Naval Surface Squadron 14, based at Mayport.

Servello called his time in command “the honor of my career,” according to his statement to the U.S. Naval Institute News.

“While deeply disappointed by this decision, I understand that the buck stops with me as the commanding officer, regardless of the circumstances or extenuating details,” he said. “I look forward to finishing my time in the Navy and beginning a new chapter in civilian life.”

The USS Paul Ignatius is named after the 59th secretary of the Navy and is the 67th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, according to the Navy. It was homeported at Mayport after its 2019 commissioning.

Servello, a native of Hollywood, Md., had served as the commanding officer since June. A 2002 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, his career started as a surface warfare officer on the USS Porty Royal, then chief engineer on USS Nitze and USS Leyte Gulf, according to the Navy.

From mid-2013 until late 2014, he commanded the USS Squall in the Arabian Gulf, then was the USS Paul Ignatius’s executive officer from late 2019 to April, the Navy said. His shore duty included time as an instructor at the Naval Academy and placement officer at the Navy Personnel Command in Tennessee.

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