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Navy relieves 17th commander this year

NAPLES, Italy — The Navy relieved its 17th commander this week, the number of officers relieved in all of 2010.

Cmdr. Laredo Bell, who led Naval Support Activity Saratoga Springs, N.Y., was relieved Wednesday by Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command, according to a Navy statement.

In the early hours of Aug. 20, Bell was cited by the Albany County Sheriff’s Department for driving under the influence, according to the Navy.

Bell has been temporarily assigned to Connecticut’s Naval Submarine Base New London, pending adjudication of the citation in civilian court, according to the Navy.

Cmdr. Rosario McWhorter, deputy commander of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, has assumed command of NSA Saratoga Springs until a permanent relief is identified, the statement reads.

Bell, a Birmingham, Ala., native, enlisted in the Navy in 1981, according to a Navy online biography.

He attained the rank of chief petty officer prior to earning his commission in 1992.

Before assuming command of NSA Saratoga Springs in December 2010, Bell was chief engineer onboard the amphibious assault ship USS Essex.

Bell is the third CO to be relieved of command for an alcohol-related incident this year.

Cmdr. Timothy Murphy was removed as commander of Electronic Attack Squadron 129 on April 11 for drunken driving. Cmdr. Karl Pugh was fired as commander of the then-deployed Electronic Attack Squadron 141 on July 19 in connection with an alcohol-related incident during a port visit to Manama, Bahrain, on July 12.

Geoffz@estripes.osd.mil

Twitter: @Stripes_GeoffZ

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