One of FIVE US Navy commanders axed in last six days was ousted after being caught ‘drunk driving’ 


One of the five US Navy commanding officers fired last week was removed from his position for being caught drunk driving, it has been claimed.

Cmdr. Peter Lesaca, commanding officer of USS Preble guided-missile destroyer, was relieved from his duties ‘due to loss of confidence in his ability to command,’ according to a Navy statement released on Tuesday. 

On Wednesday, Navy spokesman Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson told Military.com the commander’s removal came after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The reasons for the dismissal of the other four were not given, and it remains unclear if Lesaca was convicted of the charge he faces, or what stage the case is at. 

‘Navy commanding officers are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct,’ the Navy said. 

‘They are expected to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, reliability and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable when they fall short of these standards.’

Cmdr. Peter Lesaca, commanding officer of USS Preble guided-missile destroyer, was relieved from his duties on June 14 ‘due to loss of confidence in his ability to command’. On Wednesday a Navy spokesman said he was caught driving under the influence

Lesaca worked on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble before he was fired. Pictured: The USS Preble departs Naval Base San Diego in 2013

Lesaca worked on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Preble before he was fired. Pictured: The USS Preble departs Naval Base San Diego in 2013

The Navy noted in a statement on Tuesday that the shakeup will have no impact to the command’s mission or schedule.

Capt. Larry Repass, deputy commodore, Destroyer Squadron 23, will assume the duties as commanding officer until the permanent and qualified relief arrives, the statement noted. 

The Navy did not say where Lesaca will be reassigned. 

Lesaca is a native of San Diego, CA and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in History. 

He has served on multiple destroyers, including USS Laboon and USS Gonzalez in Norfolk, Virginia, USS Harpers Ferry in Japan, USS Decatur in San Diego and USS Chung-Hoon in Pearl Harbor. 

Lesaca has received several awards over the years, his bio states, and was the recipient of the 2012 Vice Admiral Kihune Award for Leadership. He also was given the 2013 Navy League of the United States’ John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership.

The commander’s firing for alleged drunken driving comes just three days after Capt. Jeffrey Sandin, commanding officer of the Navy’s Recruit Training Command, was dismissed on June 11 ‘due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.’

Capt. Kertreck Brooks, chief of staff of Naval Service Training Command, took over Sandin’s duties.

Lesaca is a native of San Diego, CA and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in History

Lesaca is a native of San Diego, CA and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in History

The other officers who have been dismissed from their posts are:  

Capt. Jeffrey Sandin

Sandin, a native of Bloomville, New York, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1986. He graduated in 2003 from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business management and graduated in 2016 from Regent University with a Master of Arts degree in organizational leadership. 

He was commissioned in 1997 through the Limited Duty Officer Program. He has previously served aboard the former USS Nashville (LPD-13), the former USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), according to his Navy bio.

In 2021, he assumed command of Recruit Training Command. Since his dismissal in June 2022, Sandin has been reassigned to Naval Service Training Command headquarters.

A day prior to Sandin’s dismissal, on June 10, USS Bulkeley destroyer commanding officer Cmdr. Devine Johnson and Command Master Chief Earl Sanders were also both fired ‘due to a loss of confidence in their ability to effectively function as a command leadership team.’

Capt. Jeffry Sandin, commanding officer of the Navy's Recruit Training Command, was dismissed on June 11 three days before Lesaca was fired

Capt. Jeffry Sandin, commanding officer of the Navy’s Recruit Training Command, was dismissed on June 11 three days before Lesaca was fired

Cmdr. Devine Johnson 

Johnson is a native of Timmonsville, South Carolina and joined the Navy in 2003. He became a commanding officer of the USS Bulkeley in August 2021, according to his Navy bio. 

Johnson has been temporarily reassigned to the staff of the commander of Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

Capt. William ‘Mac’ Harkin, currently Deputy Commodore, Destroyer Squadron Two will be temporarily assigned as commanding officer until a permanent relief is identified.

On June 10, USS Bulkeley destroyer commanding officer Cmdr. Devine Johnson was  fired 'due to a loss of confidence in their ability to effectively function as a command leadership team'

On June 10, USS Bulkeley destroyer commanding officer Cmdr. Devine Johnson was  fired ‘due to a loss of confidence in their ability to effectively function as a command leadership team’

Command Master Chief Earl Sanders

Sanders is a native of LaGrange, Georgia and enlisted in November 1997. 

He completed basic training at Recruit Training Center Great Lakes, Illinois and attended Electrician’s Mate ‘A’ School at Naval Training Center Great Lakes, Illinois, his Navy bio states. 

Sanders has previously served on the USS Mount Whitney in Norfolk, Virginia, the USS Port Royal in Pearl Harbor, and the USS WASP in Japan. 

Prior to the USS Bulkeley, Sanders served as the Command Master Chief at Electronic Attack Squadron ONE THREE ZERO in Whidbey Island, Washington. 

He has an Associates of Science in Electrical / Mechanical Technology from Coastline Community College. 

Sanders’ awards include Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4 Awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (4 Awards) and several other unit and campaign awards.

He has served as the Bulkeley command master chief since June 2021 and will be replaced by Master Chief Petty Officer Christy Reed.

Command Master Chief Earl Sanders, who alongside Cmdr. Devine Johnson on the destroyer USS Bulkeley, was also fired from his position

Command Master Chief Earl Sanders, who alongside Cmdr. Devine Johnson on the destroyer USS Bulkeley, was also fired from his position 

Both Johnson and Sanders worked on the USS Bulkeley (DDG 84)

Both Johnson and Sanders worked on the USS Bulkeley (DDG 84)

The string of firings began with Cmdr. Matthew McCormick, head of Electronic Attack Squadron, who was relieved of his duties on June 8 ‘due to loss of confidence in his ability to command.’

A Navy official told USNI News that McCormick was relieved due to inappropriate behavior that is still under investigation.

Cmdr. Matthew McCormick 

McCormick, who had been commanding officer of VAQ-137 since September 2021, was temporarily reassigned to Electronic Attack Wing Pacific at Naval Station in  Whidbey Island, Wash. 

The Garland, Texas native has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology and was commissioned through the Officer Candidate School for flight training in June 2004. 

McCormick made three deployments aboard USS RONALD REAGAN, participating in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. During this tour CDR McCormick was selected for the VAQ 139 Junior Officer Leadership award. 

He has accumulated 1,039 flight hours in the EA-6B, over 1,100 hours in the EA-18G, and 457 carrier arrested landings, including 51 combat missions. 

McCormick’s awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various service awards and ribbons. 

He currently lives in Anacortes, Washington with his wife and their three children.

Cmdr. Scott Maynes is currently serving as the acting commanding officer until a permanent replacement is assigned.

The string of firings began with Cmdr. Matthew McCormick, head of Electronic Attack Squadron, who was relieved of his duties on June 8

The string of firings began with Cmdr. Matthew McCormick, head of Electronic Attack Squadron, who was relieved of his duties on June 8

McCormick had been commanding officer of VAQ-137 (pictured) since September 2021

McCormick had been commanding officer of VAQ-137 (pictured) since September 2021

The Navy has not provided additional details as to why the officers were fired or why there were so many dismissals within a short span of time. 

Back in February, the US Navy issued a similar string of firings that relieved three commanding officers of their duties citing ‘a loss of confidence’ in the leaders’ abilities.

At the time, Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Paul Newell said that while it’s unusual to relieve an entire triad at once, it’s not unheard of.

‘It’s not unprecedented,’ he told DailyMail.com. 

‘It’s happened before. Obviously, it’s not desirable but the Navy holds their leadership and triad members to the highest standards. That’s not changed.’ 

Back in February 2022, the US Navy issued a similar string of firings that relieved three commanding officers of their duties. Pictured: Captain Jeffrey Lengkeek, Commander Master Chief Matthew Turner and Commander Michael Jarosz were all fired in February

Back in February 2022, the US Navy issued a similar string of firings that relieved three commanding officers of their duties. Pictured: Captain Jeffrey Lengkeek, Commander Master Chief Matthew Turner and Commander Michael Jarosz were all fired in February

At the time, Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Paul Newell said that while it's unusual to relieve an entire triad at once, it's not unheard of

At the time, Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Paul Newell said that while it’s unusual to relieve an entire triad at once, it’s not unheard of 

Commanding officer Captain Jeffrey Lengkeek – a Stanford-trained civil engineer who joined the Navy’s civil engineer corps in 1996 – was among the unit leaders let go on February 3.

Also fired were executive officer Commander Michael Jarosz, and Commander Master Chief Matthew Turner.

The Navy began investigating the triad last December 15, but would not say what prompted the investigation, only that the men are not facing any criminal charges, he said.



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