Kennedy commander relieved of command following July collision
August 28, 2004
The Navy relieved the commander of the USS Kennedy on Friday because of last month’s collision between the aircraft carrier and a small wooden boat.
Capt. Stephen G. Squires, who took command of the ship about five months ago, has been reassigned to Carrier Group 6 in Mayport, Fla., a Navy official said.
Capt. John W. Miller, the former commanding officer of the now-decommissioned USS Constellation, will replace Squires, the Navy announced. Miller most recently served in the policy division of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.
The Navy has not completed an investigation into the July 22 collision in the Persian Gulf between the Kennedy and the boat, called a dhow.
Although the report is not finished, the U.S. 5th Fleet in Manama, Bahrain, removed Squires based on the preliminary findings, a Navy official said.
At the time of the collision, the carrier was conducting night-flight operations. The investigation is looking into how the carrier and the boat could get so close, especially when the ship’s crew is supposed to be looking out for small or large boats.
The Navy implemented numerous force-protection measures after the October 2000 USS Cole bombing in Yemen.
The attackers used a small explosives-laden boat to ram into the Cole as it refueled at a port, killing 17 sailors.
The removal of Squires is considered an administrative action. If there is any disciplinary action taken, it is likely to occur after the investigation is completed.
The removal of Squires adds to a series of problems that have plagued the Kennedy the past three years.
In December 2001, the ship flunked a readiness test after inspectors found problems with the aircraft elevators and catapults. The commanding officer and other top officers were sacked.
The Kennedy is currently deployed to the Persian Gulf region in support of coalition forces in Iraq.