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Fired fleet readiness CO disputes investigation

Sep. 28, 2012 - 06:00AM   |   Last Updated: Sep. 28, 2012 - 06:00AM  |  
Capt. James CoBell, the commanding officer of FRC Mid-Atlantic, was fired Sept. 28.
Capt. James CoBell, the commanding officer of FRC Mid-Atlantic, was fired Sept. 28. (Navy)
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The commander of a fleet readiness center was fired Thursday after an investigation found he was abusive to subordinates and used them to conduct personal favors.

Capt. James CoBell, the commanding officer of FRC Mid-Atlantic, is the 19th CO relieved this year.

The investigation, by Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, determined CoBell "misused his position in using subordinates for personal favors, used abusive language toward his personnel and failed to properly account for personal leave," according to a Naval Air Systems Command news release.

Cobell disputed the findings of the investigation in an email to Navy Times.

"These allegations were found to be unsubstantiated by the Investigating Officer, who completed a thorough investigation. Further, my command climate assessments during my tenure as both Executive and Commanding Officer were all well within Navy norms and revealed no significant problems," CoBell said.

He said he has not been told why he was reassigned and could not comment any further.

Rear Adm. C.J. Jaynes, head of Fleet Readiness Centers, made the decision to fire CoBell. Capt. Michael Zarkowski, the FRC's executive officer, is now leading FRC Mid-Atlantic, which is based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.

CoBell had been temporarily reassigned Sept. 10 to the Naval Air Forces Atlantic staff while the investigation was completed. He'll remain on the staff pending upcoming administrative action, NAVAIR said.

CoBell took command of FRC Mid-Atlantic in 2011. It's one of seven FRCs in the country; an eighth is based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan. Part of NAVAIR, they're responsible for developing air maintenance techniques, procedures and equipment for the Navy and Marine Corps.

From Midvale, Ohio, CoBell was commissioned through Aviation Officer Candidate School in 1995. He's spent most of his career in aviation maintenance, including billets in Fighter Squadron 84, the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department at Oceana, and on the aircraft carriers America, Abraham Lincoln and Enterprise. He's earned the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service medal and other commendations.

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