Navy sacks USS Howard commander, marking 2nd ouster for destroyer’s skipper in 6 months
Stars and Stripes February 6, 2024
The commander of the USS Howard, a guided-missile destroyer based in Japan, was fired Tuesday, the Navy announced without providing a specific reason.
Cmdr. Cameron Dennis was dismissed as the ship’s skipper by Capt. Justin Harts, the commodore of Yokosuka Naval Base’s Destroyer Squadron 15, for “a loss of confidence in his ability to perform his duties,” the Navy announced in a brief statement.
Dennis’ firing marks the second dismissal of a USS Howard commander since August.
Navy officials on Tuesday declined to provide additional details about Dennis’ dismissal beyond the “loss of confidence” statement that the military services use in nearly all announcements of fired commanders.
The Navy said Dennis would be reassigned to the 7th Fleet staff, which is also headquartered at Yokosuka Naval Base. Capt. Dave Huljack, who had been serving as the deputy commodore for Destroyer Squadron 15, will take temporary command of the Howard.
It was not immediately clear Tuesday when a new, permanent USS Howard skipper would be named.
“There is no impact to the ship’s mission or schedule,” the Navy said.
Dennis took command of the Howard on Sept. 1, replacing another temporary commander who took the helm of the ship from Cmdr. Kenji Igawa, who was fired in August for poor performance, Navy officials said at the time.
Igawa’s dismissal came just days after the Howard sustained a “soft grounding” just before arriving in port in Indonesia on Aug. 10, 7th Fleet officials said. A soft grounding is described as the ship bottoming out on soft seabed without major damage to the vessel. No injuries were reported in that August incident.
Dennis is a San Antonio native who previously served as an enlisted sailor, according to his Navy biography. He had previously served as the executive officer on the USS Higgins, another guided-missile destroyer. He also had served on the staff of the 6th Fleet in Italy.