Vice Adm. Thomas E. Ishee, Commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet, has relieved Capt. Lenard C. Mitchell of his duties as commanding officer of the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4), citing a loss of confidence in his ability to command.

This decision comes after an investigation into a grounding incident near Libreville, Gabon, on May 9, 2024, according to a press release from he U.S. Navy.

The press release details that while the investigation is still ongoing, enough facts have emerged to justify the removal of Capt. Mitchell from his position. Capt. Mitchell had been serving as the commanding officer of the Gold Crew since November 20, 2022.

The U.S. Navy has a strict standard for commanding officers, holding them accountable for their responsibilities to their sailors and ships. “Naval leaders are entrusted with significant responsibilities to their Sailors and their ships,” the press release states.

In the interim, Capt. Michael Concannon will take over as the commanding officer of the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams. Despite the change in leadership, the press release assures that there will be no impact on the command’s mission or schedule.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Micky mouse
Micky mouse (@guest_833458)
10 days ago

Stick him in the brig for 12 months , let him sort head out ,, an should nt be loud to carry new duties

James (@guest_833525)
10 days ago

Did they notice that he’d sold off most of the side panels?

Ben Lane
Ben Lane (@guest_833632)
10 days ago

It is very strange that this level of disciplinary action is becoming more frequent for comfort in the US Navy

Jonathan (@guest_833709)
9 days ago
Reply to  Ben Lane

Grounding is essentially one of those things all navy’s will generally boot a captain for… the ship was put at risked because of a failure and it’s always on the captain.

TR (@guest_833738)
9 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yeah but most naval officers aren’t asked to dock a massive merchant ship eithout bow thrusters in a third world poorly dredged port without adequate tug support. The people that grounded this ship were those who penny pinched on the refit and schedules the port visit, the Captain did a decent enough job he’s just the scapegoat here.
Nimitz grounded his destroyer after all.

Ed (@guest_833779)
9 days ago
Reply to  Ben Lane

True I’m glad I’m not the only one that thinks this!

Gunbuster (@guest_834461)
7 days ago

Two COs on ESBs
Civvy Capt for the ship itself and a Military CO for the crew and capabilities it contains.
Bit of a weird way of doing things. For maintenance packages there is a civvy crew derived package… Hull, engines, ship services and then a Military derived one for the flight deck, hangar, boat deck kit etc.