US Navy commander fired after alcohol-fuelled port visit in Russia

The commander of a US Navy frigate, and the ship’s top officers, have been relieved of duty after a rowdy, alcohol-fuelled port visit to Vladivostok in Russia.

The US Navy frigate the USS Vandergrift Commander Joseph Darlak was removed from duty as skipper of the USS Vandergrift after an investigation “due to loss of confidence after demonstrating poor leadership and failure to ensure the proper conduct of his wardroom officers” during the three-day September stop, the Navy said in a statement.

Executive officer Lieutenant Commander Ivan Jimenez and the ship’s chief engineer and operations officer were also relieved “for personal conduct involving use of alcohol and not adhering to established liberty policies”, the statement said.

The Navy Times reported that the officers were relieved during a port visit in Guam and they will be temporarily reassigned in San Diego pending more possible administrative actions.

The move comes just over three months after Darlak assumed command of the Vandegrift.

In a post on the official Facebook page of the Navy’s 7th Fleet, Darlak celebrated the visit to Vladivostok as it began on 20 September.

He said: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to visit Vladivostok and experience all the city has to offer.

“Our sailors are especially looking forward to making new friends.”

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