Navy removes two top commanders citing 'loss of confidence in their ability to command'

Cmdr. Richard J. Zamberlan, the ship’s skipper, and Cmdr. Phillip Lundberg, the vessel's executive officer, were relieved of their command. 

Updated: December 31, 2021 - 11:19am

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The Navy has made the rare decision to remove two high-ranking officers from their posts – commanders of the littoral combat ship Montgomery – citing a "loss of confidence in their ability to command." 

The announcement Thursday by the military service provided no specific information about why Cmdr. Richard J. Zamberlan, the ship's skipper, and Cmdr. Phillip Lundberg, the vessel's executive officer, were relieved of their command. 

However, two Navy officials told The New York Times, on the condition of anonymity, that Lundberg and Zamberlan's removal resulted from their handling of a sexual harassment investigation.

They will be reassigned to desk jobs at the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet's Naval Surface Force. 

Cmdr. Dustin Lonero, from the littoral combat ship Coronado, will be the Montgomery's acting skipper until a permanent replacement is named, Capt. Marc Crawford, commander of the Navy's Surface Division Eleven, said in the announcement

While such firings or demotions are unusual, they are not unprecedented, especially recently.

The Navy in April removed Cmdr. Kathryn Dawley as the skipper of the guided-missile destroyer Hopper for what officials said was a poor command climate and bad crew morale, The Times also reports.