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Navy fires skipper of amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry

Cmdr. Tammy Royal

U.S. NAVY

By CARL PRINE | The San Diego Union-Tribune | Published: May 19, 2018

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Tribune News Service) — The Navy fired the skipper of the Harpers Ferry on Thursday, the fourth senior San Diego-based amphibious warship leader to be relieved of duty over the past year.

Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, relieved Cmdr. Tammy Sue Royal, 48, after superiors lost confidence in her ability to effectively lead sailors and carry out her duties, according to Naval Surface Warfare spokesman Doug Sayers.

In a telephone interview, Sayers said that "sustained poor performance" during an era when "readiness is a focal point for the Navy" were keys to Pringle's decision.

On April 12, Pringle fired Capt. William Sherrod, skipper of the amphibious warship Somerset, following an investigation into concerns about his command climate.

Last May, the Navy removed both the captain and executive officer of the Somerset's sister ship, the Anchorage, after commanders said they lost confidence in their ability to lead.

The Somerset and the Anchorage are San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks.

Commissioned in 1995, the aging Harpers Ferry was the first in a class of landing ship docks, but all three vessels are used to move Marines to shore during amphibious assaults.

A native of Georgia, Royal has been reassigned to the staff of Coronado-based Naval Surface Forces.

Cmdr. Gervy Alota, a top aide to Pringle at Expeditionary Strike Group Three, assumes temporary duty of commanding the Harpers Ferry until a permanent replacement can be named.

Royal's warship recently returned from shipyard maintenance and her crew was beginning the initial phase of basic training.

She did not return messages seeking comment on Friday.

Royal served nine years as an enlisted electronic technician before she entered the Navy's commissioning program. She graduated from Norfolk State University in 2000.

Royal did tours aboard the amphibious warships Rushmore, Austin, Fort McHenry and Iwo Jima before becoming the executive officer of the Mount Whitney.

She also spent seven months in Baghdad as the operation officer for the Project Contracting Officer.

Royal took command of the Harpers Ferry on March 9, 2017.

"I am excited to be your new commanding officer," Royal told her new crew, according to the Navy, adding that it was her "responsibility to give you the tools, training and time and to be able to trust you to go out and do your job properly."

Royal's decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, seven Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the Joint Achievement Medal and five Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

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The USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) departs from Naval Base San Diego for a regularly scheduled deployment on Feb. 12, 2016
CHRISTOPHER VELOICAZA/U.S. NAVY

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