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Navy Seabee commander relieved of duty

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The commanding officer of a Navy Seabee battalion was fired Monday for mismanagement, the Navy announced this week.

Capt. Sean McDonell, who commanded the Seabee reserve unit Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 14 in Jacksonville, Fla., was also relieved for unspecified “major program deficiencies,” according to a Navy statement.

The statement did not announce any possible punitive measures taken against McDonell. He was relieved by Capt. Roger Motzko, commodore of the 3rd Naval Construction Regiment.

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Motzko cited a “loss of confidence in McDonell’s ability to command,” which is the most commonly stated reason cited in the Navy’s public statements regarding command removals.

Earlier this year, Cmdr. Franklin Fernandez was relieved as commander of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24, after being cited for drunk driving.

Seabee battalions are typically responsible for battlefield construction and runway repairs and also play a large role in humanitarian assistance projects.

Cmdr. Todd Smith, operations officer of the 3rd Naval Construction Regiment in Atlanta, will serve as the interim battalion commander until Cmdr. Mark Williams takes over next summer.

McDonell is at least the 25th Navy commanding officer to be relieved of duty in 2012. There were 22 commanders relieved in 2011.

Commanders relieved of duty are typically reassigned to a headquarters command prior to further action. If they wish to remain in the Navy, they usually appear before a “show cause” board of inquiry.

McDonell began his Navy career after graduating from Marquette University in 1989. He transferred to the reserves in 1996. Prior to his command job, he worked as the operations officer, Third Naval Construction Regiment. McDonell also served nine months on active duty as camp engineer at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, in 2007.

slavine@pstripes.osd.mil

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