Ponce Leadership Relieved

Story Number: NNS110423-02Release Date: 4/23/2011 4:51:00 PM
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From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa/ Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet (C6F) relieved the commanding officer and executive officer of the Norfolk-based, Austin-class amphibious transport dock USS Ponce (LPD 15) April 23.

Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., relieved Cmdr. Etta Jones, Ponce's commanding officer, due to demonstrated poor leadership, and failure to appropriately investigate, report, and hold accountable Sailors found involved in hazing incidents. Additionally, she failed to properly handle a loaded weapon during a security alert which endangered some of her crew.

The relief of the executive officer, Lt. Cmdr. Kurt Boenisch, was due to his failure to provide support to the command and commanding officer.

"Leaders who fail to set proper examples or fail to uphold proper standards, fail to serve our Sailors, our Navy and, ultimately, our nation," said Harris.

Capt. Brad Skillman, deputy commander of Amphibious Squadron Four, has assumed command and will serve as the new commanding officer.

Ponce is deployed in the C6F area of responsibility and is fully ready for any mission tasking.

For more news, visit www.navy.mil.

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