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Capt. John Banigan
Capt. John Banigan (U.S. Navy)

SAN DIEGO — The Navy has relieved the commander of a guided-missile cruiser after an investigation into poor command climate on the ship.

Capt. John Banigan was relieved of his duties as commanding officer of the USS Lake Erie on Monday by Rear Adm. Dee Mewbourne, according to the Navy.

The decision was based on the findings of the investigation, and a “loss of confidence in his ability to command,” the Navy said in a written release. Navy officials said they could not offer any details about the ship’s command climate because the investigation is not yet complete.

Banigan served as the executive officer on the Lake Erie from 2011 to May 2013, when he assumed command. He has been temporarily assigned to the staff of the commander of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Capt. Douglas Kunzman will temporarily take over command of the Lake Erie. Kunzman is deputy commander of Destroyer Squadron 9, based in Everett, Wash.

The Lake Erie, a Ticonderoga-class cruiser, was home-ported at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, but moved to San Diego in August 2014. Twitter: @jhlad


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