For the many thousands of people who have followed the story of the ex-USS Guardian which ran up in a Philippine Reef this past January, the fate of the ship’s captain, Lt. Cmdr. Mark Rice, seemed pretty clear. It was not a matter of if he was going to be fired, it appeared more of a question of when.
As of yesterday, Lt. Cmdr Rice, his Executive Officer/Navigator Lt. Daniel Tylor, the ship’s assistant navigator, and the Officer of the Deck have been relieved of duty by Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7.
The US Navy comments that an investigation continues however, according to a US Navy statement, initial findings clearly indicate that the above mentioned sailors did not adhere to standard U.S. Navy navigation procedures and were relieved due to their role in the grounding and a loss of confidence.
Lt. Cmdr. Robert Laird of the minesweeper USS Warrior will temporarily command the former Guardian crew until a new command team is named, according to Expeditionary Strike Group Seven spokesman, Lt. Brian Wierzbicki.
All four personnel have been temporarily assigned to ESG-7 pending the completion of the investigation.