In a rare move, US Fleet Forces Command announced the firing of the entire command leadership of the guided missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG-96). The ship is currently on deployment to the 6th Fleet area of operations and the firings occurred while at sea.
The Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Curtis Calloway; Executive Officer, Cmdr. Ed Handley; and Command Master Chief Travis Biswell were all relieved as a result of an ongoing command climate investigation. All have been reassigned to the staff at Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic while the investigation is pending. Captain Anthony Simmons from the staff of DESRON 2, has assumed command as acting CO pending the outcome.
The USS James E. Williams departed her homeport of Norfolk on May 30 for an eight month deployment. According to Fleet Forces, the ship has been participating in a variety of exercises and operations in conjunction with U.S. Africa Command.
This is not the first round of command leadership firings for the James E. Williams. In December 2009, the Commanding Officer and Command Master Chief were removed following a fraternization scandal. The Executive Officer was not implicated but was reassigned as XO on another DDG. In this event, nine Sailors received non-judicial punishment for fraternization, including five Chief Petty Officers. While the CO and CMC were not implicated in the fraternization, they were removed for leadership failures.