Navy officials confirmed Tuesday that the executive officer of the guided-missile destroyer John Finn, Cmdr. Jonathan Zang, was relieved Friday, the same day that the warship’s commander, Cmdr. Angela Gonzales, was removed from command.
The Navy issued a brief press release Saturday announcing Gonzales’ firing, but made no mention of Zang’s relief.
U.S. 7th Fleet spokeswoman Cmdr. Hayley Sims confirmed to Navy Times Tuesday that Zang was also relieved along with Gonzales “due to a loss of confidence in their ability to fulfill their responsibilities in leading the ship.”
A spokeswoman in the Navy’s main Washington, D.C., press office, Cmdr. Jacqueline Pau, said the Navy’s policy for announcing CO firings differs from when other members of the command triad are sacked.
“We publicly release the CO’s name in Navy.mil stories, but the XO and (command master chief) are response to queries,” she said, meaning that such information is only shared if a reporter asks.
Gonzales took command of the ship in March 2022, according to the Navy, and John Finn’s command firings come after the warship traveled from San Diego to its new home port in Yokosuka, Japan, in March of this year.
A Navy Times reporter first realized that Zang might have been relieved as well after visiting John Finn’s leadership page and seeing that both the CO and XO slots were empty.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.