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Destroyer skipper sacked for misconduct

Apr. 28, 2011 - 06:24PM   |   Last Updated: Apr. 28, 2011 - 06:24PM  |  
Cmdr. Jay Wylie was fired as the destroyer Momsen's commanding officer.
Cmdr. Jay Wylie was fired as the destroyer Momsen's commanding officer. ()
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The commanding officer of an Everett, Wash.-based destroyer was fired Wednesday for allegations of misconduct, 3rd Fleet said in a press release Thursday.

Cmdr. Jay Wylie, CO of destroyer Momsen, was relieved by Rear Adm. Mark Guadagnini, commander of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, "due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command stemming from allegations of misconduct," the release said.

Wylie is the 10th commanding officer fired so far this year, and the fourth surface warfare officer. Over the first four months of the year, one destroyer squadron commodore and two other ship captains have been sacked.

Capt. Mark Johnson, deputy commander of Destroyer Squadron 9, is serving as Momsen's interim CO until a replacement is named, the release said.

Lt. j.g. Beth Teach, a spokeswoman for San Diego-based 3rd Fleet, declined to say what misconduct Wylie allegedly committed, citing an ongoing investigation into the matter, which Lincoln strike group officials opened Wednesday.

"There were allegations of misconduct, and an officer in command has the unique position of trust and responsibility," Teach said. "So when those allegations were made ... Guadagnini relieved Cmdr. Wylie due to loss of confidence in his ability to command, just stemming from those allegations."

Wylie is the second CO fired by Guadagnini in seven weeks. He fired Cmdr. Kevin Harms, commander of Strike Fighter Squadron 137, then attached to the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, while returning from deployment in March for allegedly violating military ethics rules.

Wylie, 40, was commissioned in May 1992 after graduating from the University of Southern California. Over his 19-year career, he served tours aboard the cruiser Port Royal and destroyers Carney and Benfold, and served as executive officer of the destroyer Kidd.

By the time he was relieved, Wylie had commanded Momsen for 10 months, including a Western Pacific deployment in which the ship participated in maritime security operations and counter-piracy patrols. In February, Momsen disrupted an in-progress pirate takedown of a merchant ship in the Gulf of Oman and later sank both of the pirates' skiffs.

In a speech at the July 8, 2010, ceremony in which Wylie took command of Momsen, a two-star admiral extolled the prestige of command, according to a Navy news story.

"Becoming a commanding officer is the most sacred trust that can be bestowed upon an officer," Rear Adm. Mark Buzby, head of Military Sealift Command, told the audience. "Only a select few are chosen."

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