Thursday, July 31, 2008

USS George Washington change of command

Various news sources reported yesterday that the captain of the USS George Washington, a Nimitz class aircraft carrier in San Diego right now, has been relieved of command. From AP:

    The announcement by the Navy came as Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, relieved the carrier's commanding officer, Capt. David C. Dykhoff, and the executive officer of duty, Capt. David M. Dober.

    Willard cited lost confidence in the commanding officer and his failure to meet mission standards after the investigation found unauthorized smoking by a crew member appeared to have ignited flammable liquids and other combustible material that were improperly stored. The other officer was relieved of duty for substandard performance

I've driven many sailors and a few officers of the Washington in my taxi. I heard a lot of things in the back seat that weren't meant for public consumption. I drove four carloads of enlisted sailors last night, the day the news came out about the change of command. I asked each what they thought about it. Every sailor said the same thing, paraphrased here:

    The fire was a serious problem, and it could have been prevented. The captain should not have been relieved, though, because somebody in the lower ranks made a mistake.

They also said they hope it doesn't destroy his career, but none were hopeful for Dykoff on this point.

The official website of the George Washington has this to say about Dykhoff:

    Captain Dykhoff is a graduate of U.S. Air Force Air War College, U.S. Navy Test Pilot School, U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), Joint Forces Staff College, Air Command and Staff Command, and Naval Nuclear Power and Prototype Schools. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, and a Master of Science in Systems Engineering. He is authorized to wear the Legion of Merit, Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and other awards.

    Captain Dykhoff took command of USS GEORGE WASHINGTON on 14 December 2006.

This is an impressive naval officer. I hope he can overcome the present troubles. With my admittedly small knowledge of the navy and the events that took place on the Washington, I would say the navy needs men like him. There's an old custom on the high seas that a captain should go down with his ship. The Washington was damaged, but it didn't go down; perhaps this is what will happen to its captain.


tefta said...

You should have asked them what his position on the war in Iraq was - because he is the 5th or 6th commander to be ousted for "questionable" reasons of late. My guess is that he wasn't cozy with Cheney - hence the relief of command. They knew what the reason for the fire was a long time ago - this isn't new - and its convenient that Cheney was just at Camp Pendleton (though he did not give a speech or anything and kept it mainly to conversations during a mobile "tour")

Its a shame to happen to such an impressive man.

Anonymous said...