USS Germantown captain relieved of duty
By MATTHEW M. BURKE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 10, 2014
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The captain of the USS Germantown has been relieved of command for failure to use good judgment and uphold standards in relation to a sexual assault investigation involving one of the ship’s top sailors, Navy officials said Monday.
Cmdr. Jason Leach was removed Friday by Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet commander Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald, who lost confidence in his ability to command, according to a Navy statement. The relief was the result of a poor command climate onboard the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship.
The command investigation that led to Leach’s firing was triggered by a Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation into sexual assault allegations against former Command Master Chief Petty Officer Jesus Galura. Galura has been removed from his duties onboard the ship.
“While the relief was not related to a single incident, it was based on preliminary findings from the NCIS and the command climate investigation, which concluded that Cmdr. Leach failed to use the good judgment expected of leaders in the Navy and uphold standards,” Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Brian Wierzbicki wrote in a statement to Stars and Stripes. “I can’t get into specifics, but we expect leaders to maintain professional relationships between the wardroom and Chief’s Mess, set and keep the bar on standards high and not tolerate any decreases in professionalism.”
There are no plans for disciplinary action against Leach, who has been reassigned to the staff of Expeditionary Strike Group Seven in Sasebo, the statement said. The current Deputy Commodore of Amphibious Squadron Eleven, Capt. Marvin Thompson, has been tapped as the Germantown’s commanding officer until a permanent replacement is identified. Thompson is the former commanding officer of the USS Harpers Ferry and CTF-76 Deputy Chief of Staff.