The executive officer of the New York, pictured above at Naval Station Norfolk on Sept. 6, was fired for fraterinzatoin, the Navy announced Thursday. (MC2 Eric S. Garst / Navy)
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View the full list of commanding officer and senior enlisted firings that occurred in 2011.
The executive officer of the amphibious transport dock New York was fired Wednesday for having an "unduly familiar relationship" with a female member of the crew, the Navy announced Thursday.
Cmdr. John Pethel was relieved by Capt. Mark Scovill, commander of Amphibious Squadron 8, and was given a punitive letter of reprimand for fraternization, according to a statement by Naval Surface Force Atlantic.
Pethel is the fifth XO fired this year, the second specifically for fraternization.
Pethel was ordered off New York on Nov. 21 amid the investigation, which began 11 days earlier, said Lt. Cmdr. Bill Urban, SURFLANT spokesman, who added that Pethel's firing was made permanent Wednesday.
"The executive officer engaged in a personal relationship that was unduly familiar, did not respect the differences in rank and grade, and is prohibited by the Navy," Urban said.
Urban said the relationship was consensual. He declined to disclose any personal details about the female crew member, such as whether she is an officer or enlisted, citing privacy concerns.
Pethel, who was raised in Sumter, S.C., enlisted in the Navy in 1986 and became an air crewman, according to his official bio. In 1995, he was selected for Officer Candidate School and upon commissioning joined the surface fleet. He served tours aboard four ships — and deployed as an individual augmentee to Kandahar, Afghanistan — before he became XO aboard New York in January 2011.
Pethel has been awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal, as well as many other personal and unit awards and decorations.
Pethel was reassigned to SURFLANT. Lt. Cmdr. Ethan Mitchell has assumed duties as XO.
An email and a phone call seeking comment from Pethel were not immediately returned.