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Navy fires commander of Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic

The guided-missile destroyer USS Howard transits the Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Shawn J. Stewart)
September 07, 2023

Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic’s commanding officer was fired recently due to a loss of the Navy’s confidence in the officer’s “ability to command,” according to a statement released by the U.S. Navy.

According to a Navy press release, Rear Adm. Joseph Hornbuckle, Commander of Fleet Readiness Centers, relieved Capt. Paul Choate, commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic, of his command on Aug. 31.

The Navy announced that Capt. Richard Foster, executive officer of Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic, has assumed command. Foster was previously scheduled to assume command of the Fleet Readiness Center in December of this year. The Navy also announced that Choate had been “reassigned to COMFRC headquarters.”

“Navy commanding officers are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct,” the Navy press release stated. “They are expected to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, reliability, and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable when they fall short of those standards.”

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According to Military Times, Choate, Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, out of Naval Air Station Oceana. Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic is tasked with maintenance assistance for aircraft such as the E-2 Hawkeye and the F/A-18 Super Hornet jets.

Originally from Saigon, Vietnam, Choate first joined the Navy in 1986, serving as an avionics technician, according to Military Times. Choate also served as a Fleet Reconnaissance Squadron 4 aircrewman, as well as an instructor for the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma in 1996, Choate was commissioned and continued his military service.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Choate received the Bronze Star for his service in safeguarding the U.S. and its allies in Iraq during 2006 and 2007 from explosives. Choate reportedly led the effort with a team of 200 service members, significantly reducing the time it required for the installation of devices on Humvees and SUVs that jammed explosive devices.

After being relieved of his command of Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic, Choate joins at least six other Navy commanding officers that have been relieved of command so far this year.