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Navy fires entire Seabees unit command due to ‘loss of confidence’

Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 15 form a protective circle to practice teamwork. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Garas/US Navy)
February 09, 2022

The U.S. Navy fired its entire Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 command last week due to “a loss of confidence in their abilities to effectively perform their leadership roles.”  

The Navy said in the press release published on Friday that the three officers — Capt. Jeffrey Lengkeek, commanding officer; Cmdr. Michael Jarosz, executive officer; and Command Master Chief Matthew Turner — were dismissed and reassigned to the staff of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.

“There is no impact to the command’s mission or schedule due to the reliefs,” the Navy said.

Rear Admiral John V. Menoni fired the three Navy officers following “a formal command investigation,” Lieutenant Commander Paul Newell, a spokesman for Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, told Newsweek this week. Newell didn’t say what prompted the investigation.

“The investigation remains open, and we do not intend to take further disciplinary action,” he added.

“ACB 2 is located on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The command’s mission is to provide ship-to-shore movement of maritime pre-position equipment ashore,” the Navy press release explained. “It also provides camp support and installation, and operation of the bulk fuel/bulk water systems, along with additional salvage capabilities. The command’s Seabees play a major role in maritime prepositioning force operations.”

Prior to being relieved of duty, Lengkeek served as commanding officer of the battalion since July 2020, Jarosz served as executive officer since July 2020, and Turner served as command master chief since July 2019.

The release said Capt. Brian C. Finman will be temporarily assigned as commanding officer until a permanent relief found, Cmdr. Henry P. Pierce IV will be temporarily assigned as executive officer pending permanent relief, and Master Chief Todd Mangin will be temporarily assigned as command master chief until a permanent relief is identified.

The Navy reportedly fires around 40 leaders each year.

In December, the second-in-command of a U.S. Navy destroyer was relieved from duty for refusing to get vaccinated or tested for COVID-19, according to a senior Navy official who spoke with Fox News.

Cmdr. Lucian Kins, the executive officer of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81), was relieved after his COVID-19 vaccine exemption request had been denied and he refused to be tested, the Navy official told Fox News.

Kins had reportedly applied for a religious exemption, but he was refused by the Navy. The Navy has not granted a single religious exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine, nor has it granted religious exemptions to any other vaccines in seven years.

“While it’s not unprecedented, it’s a decision that wasn’t taken lightly,” said Newell of the more recent firings. He added, “the Navy doesn’t change its standards of what is expected.”