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Navy fires commanding officer for ‘loss of confidence in his ability’

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)
June 06, 2023

The Navy relieved Cmdr. Jeffrey Applebaugh, the commanding officer of the Norfolk, Virginia-based guided-missile destroyer Stout, after a “loss of confidence in his ability to command,” the Navy announced in a statement on Monday.

He was relieved of his post by the commodore of Destroyer Squadron 28, Capt. Blair Guy. 

According to Navy Times, the deputy commander of Destroyer Squadron 28, Capt. Scott Rosetti, will now serve temporarily as the commanding officer of the vessel until the executive officer of the guided-missile destroyer Bainbridge, Cmdr. Desmond Walker, takes over as command.  

“Cmdr. Applebaugh will be temporarily reassigned to the staff of Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic,” the Navy said in a statement.  “There is no impact to the command’s mission or schedule due to the relief.” 

No additional details have been provided to the public by the Navy.

Last month, Major General Phillip Stewart, Commander of the 19th Air Force, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, was removed from his post while under investigation following allegations of misconduct. 

According to Stars and Stripes, Lieutenant General Brian Robinson, Commander of the Air Education and Training Command, relieved Stewart of his command “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to lead, related to alleged misconduct which is currently under investigation,” training command spokeswoman Captain Lauren Woods said at the time.

Details regarding the nature of the alleged misconduct were not provided. Stewart was appointed to his post in August 2022. While Commander, Stewart was responsible for 45 percent of the U.S. Air Force’s annual flying hour program, which provides training to 27,000 U.S. and allied aircrew annually, according to the Air Force.

Stewart was commissioned into the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1992 following his graduation from The Georgia Institute of Technology. He holds a master’s degree in Military Studies and a master’s degree in Occupational Planning from the Marine Corps University, as well as a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.