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Frigate Taylor CO fired 2 weeks after running aground

Feb. 25, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Cmdr. Dennis Volpe was removed from command of the Mayport, Fla.-based frigate by Capt. Jim Aiken, the head of Task Force 65, 'due to loss of confidence in Volpe's ability to command,' two weeks after his ship ran aground in the Black Sea, where it was standing by in case it was needed to support security at the Winter Olympics.
Cmdr. Dennis Volpe was removed from command of the Mayport, Fla.-based frigate by Capt. Jim Aiken, the head of Task Force 65, 'due to loss of confidence in Volpe's ability to command,' two weeks after his ship ran aground in the Black Sea, where it was standing by in case it was needed to support security at the Winter Olympics. (Navy)
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The commanding officer of the frigate Taylor was fired Tuesday two weeks after his ship ran aground in the Black Sea, where it was standing by in case it was needed to support security at the Winter Olympics.

Cmdr. Dennis Volpe was removed from command of the Mayport, Fla.-based frigate by Capt. Jim Aiken, the head of Task Force 65, “due to loss of confidence in Volpe’s ability to command,” 6th Fleet said in a Tuesday news release.

Taylor ran aground Feb. 12 while preparing to moor in Samsun, Turkey, with no reported injuries. The Navy publicized the incident a week later, during the investigation.

The investigation hasn’t turned up any egregious mistakes by Volpe, said Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty, but the responsibility for the grounding falls on him and raises questions about whether the ship would be able to safely navigate under his command.

“When something like this happens, the ability for him to maintain command is going to be questioned,” she said.

So far Volpe is the only person implicated. Flaherty said further administrative or disciplinary action will be determined after the investigation is complete.

Volpe has been temporarily reassigned to a staff position at Destroyer Squadron 14, based in Mayport. Cmdr. Chris Cigna has been named as the ship’s interim CO.

Volpe is a 1996 Naval Academy graduate who has served aboard the destroyer Spruance and the cruiser Gettysburg, and as the executive officer on the Taylor from April 2011 to October 2012, according to his official bio.

Volpe holds a master’s degree from the Naval War College and has deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, four Navy Commendation Medals, five Navy Achievement Medals and various unit, service and campaign awards.

Volpe did not immediately respond to an email or phone call seeking comment Tuesday.

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