WASHINGTON – The US Navy is dismissing three-star Vice-Admiral Joseph Aucoin as the commander of the US 7th Fleet, CNN reported a US official as saying.
The dismissal comes just days after 10 sailors went missing after a US warship, USS John S. McCain, collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore. Remains of some of the sailors were recovered on Tuesday (Aug 22). The accident on Monday is also the third incident involving a 7th Fleet US warship in Asian waters this year, including another collision in June between the USS Fitzgerald and a Philippine cargo vessel that killed seven US sailors.
The string of accidents prompted the Navy to issue a one-day operational pause.
The US 7th Fleet is based in Yokosuka, Japan.
“An expedited change in leadership was needed,” an official told Reuters about the Navy’s decision.
A wider review by the Navy will assess 7th Fleet’s performance, including personnel, navigation capabilities, maintenance and equipment.
According the the US 7th Fleet website, Admiral Aucoin graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and received his commission through the University of North Carolina Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps programme in 1980. He became a naval flight officer in 1981 and has served on several US warships.
He became commander of the 7th Fleet in Sep 2015.
He has received the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with “V” and Bronze Stars. He also holds master’s degrees in Public Administration from Harvard University and in National Security Studies and Strategic Affairs from the Naval War College. – AFP