Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

CO of diving unit fired after deaths

May. 8, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Cmdr. Michael Runkle, the CO of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, was removed 'for a loss of confidence in his ability to command.' Pictured: Runkle delivers remarks during a March 14 memorial service at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story for Navy Diver 1st Class James Reyher (DSW) and Navy Diver 2nd Class Ryan Harris (DSW).
Cmdr. Michael Runkle, the CO of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, was removed 'for a loss of confidence in his ability to command.' Pictured: Runkle delivers remarks during a March 14 memorial service at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story for Navy Diver 1st Class James Reyher (DSW) and Navy Diver 2nd Class Ryan Harris (DSW). (MC2 Steven C. Hoskins/Navy)
  • Filed Under

The Navy fired the commanding officer of the Virginia Beach, Va.-based dive unit that suffered two diving deaths in late February after an investigation found problems with compliance and command climate, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 said in an news release Wednesday.

Cmdr. Michael Runkle, the CO of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, was removed by Capt. Timothy Rudderow “for a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” the release said.

“As a result of a diving accident in February in which two sailors drowned, EODGRU 2 convened a command investigation,” the release said. “That investigation brought to light continued command climate weaknesses. Additionally, the investigation revealed safety concerns that were not previously known. The safety issues identified in the EODGRU 2 command investigation were contributing factors in the decision to relieve Runkle.”

A senior chief and chief warrant officer 3 at MDSU 2 are now facing the possibility of dereliction of duty and involuntary manslaughter charges related for the Feb. 26 deaths during an exercise at an underwater testing pool in Aberdeen, Md. That accident killed Navy Diver 1st Class (DSW) James Reyher, 28, and Navy Diver 2nd Class (DSW) Ryan Harris, 23. Navy Expeditionary Combat Command has declined to release the names of the two MDSU personnel facing charges.

Runkle is the ninth CO fired this year.

“I am saddened by the loss of Ryan and James from the diving accidents in February,” Runkle said after being reached at his Chesapeake, Va. Home. “I know MDSU 2 will persevere and the command will carry on in their memories. However, now is not the time to comment on the specifics of my relief or the investigation. I will respond at the appropriate time.”

Lt. Nathan Potter, a spokesman for EODGRU 2, declined to comment on the nature of the morale issues or safety concerns, saying they were not releasable until the Article 32 hearing, set for May 21.

“The command investigation is complete but because of the pending Article 32 ... we can’t release it,” he said.

Runkle has been reassigned to Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. His temporary relief is Capt. Dan Shultz, a former CO of MDSU 2.

Runkle, 40, is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and took command of MDSU 2 last September, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

Your new NCOERs
Significant changes to report expected for Oct. 1, 2015

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook