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Commanding officer of Norfolk-based destroyer USS Stout relieved for ‘loss of confidence’

Sailors watch as the USS Stout returns to Naval Station Norfolk Monday morning October 12, 2020. The USS Stout returns following a record setting deployment that included over 200 days at sea. (Jonathon Gruenke/Daily Press/TNS)

The Navy ousted the commanding officer of guided-missile destroyer USS Stout Friday.

Cmdr. Jeffrey Applebaugh was relieved due to a “loss of confidence in his ability to command,” the Navy said in a statement Monday.

Applebaugh, who has served as the Norfolk-based destroyer’s commanding officer since October 2022, will be temporarily reassigned to the staff of Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

Details of what led to the firing were not immediately available. But the USS Stout Facebook page bid him farewell Saturday in a social media post that read: “Thank you, Captain. Thank you for your dedication, your kindness, your professionalism, your compassion, your understanding, your commitment to the ship and it’s crew, and their safety and well-being, your knowledge, and your mentorship. Most of all, thank you for always putting the ship and the crew first. Good luck, and we will continue to get STOUT ready for battle.”

According to the Navy, Applebaugh’s relief will have no impact to the command’s mission or schedule.

Capt. Scott Rosetti, deputy commander of Destroyer Squadron 28, will temporarily take the helm of the Stout, with Cmdr. Desmond Walker, executive officer of guided-missile destroyer Bainbridge and Hampton Roads native, eventually filling the role.


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