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Commander aboard Navy hospital ship relieved of duty, accused of false fitness report

Capt. William B. Cogar, center, salutes Capt. Sylvester Moore, commander, MSC Pacific, during a change of command ceremony March 28, 2013, in San Diego, Calif. Cogar became the new commanding officer of the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy’s Medical Treatment Facility.

SAN DIEGO – The commander of the medical facility aboard one of the Navy’s two hospital ships was relieved Friday in part for falsely reporting the results of his physical fitness assessment, the Navy said.

Capt. William B. Cogar, 59, was relieved of his duties as commander of Medical Treatment Facility USNS Mercy after an Inspector General’s investigation “into allegations of irregularities in the administration of the MTF’s physical fitness assessment program,” according to a Navy news release.

After a non-judicial hearing Friday, Rear Adm. Thomas K. Shannon, the commander of Military Sealift Command, found that Cogar tried to influence his fitness assessment results and that he negligently failed to comply with and execute the requirements of the Physical Readiness Program. Shannon also found that Cogar failed to obey an order or regulation and that he engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman, according to the Navy news release.

Other members of the unit also were reviewed for similar violations and “held accountable” but were not identified by the Navy.

Cogar was reassigned to Navy Medical Center San Diego. Capt. Jeffrey Paulson, a former commander of the Medical Treatment Facility, temporarily assumed command because the facility’s executive officer has been at the facility for less than a month, the Navy said.

Cogar enlisted in the Navy in 1972 as a corpsman and served on active duty for four years and the active reserve for an additional five years, according to a Navy biography. He was commissioned into the Naval Reserve in 1984 and became a doctor in 1988.

Cogar deployed to Iraq from January through September 2008 as the officer in charge with Health Services Support Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 1, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Fwd). He served as the executive officer of the Medical Treatment Facility aboard the USNS Mercy before taking command in March.

hlad.jennifer@stripes.com
Twitter: @jhlad

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