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Secretary Del Toro issued Secretarial Letters of Censure (SLOCs) to three Navy flag officers who were in leadership roles connected to the fuel spills at Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility and subsequent contamination of the water distribution system at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Those individuals are Rear Adm. (ret) Peter Stamatopoulos, Rear Adm. (ret) John Korka, and Rear Adm. (ret) Timothy Kott. Stamatopoulous was Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command during the spills; Korka was Commander, Navy Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), Pacific before the spills; and Kott was Commander, Navy Region Hawaii during the November 2021 spill.
Secretary Del Toro issued the SLOCs based on the recommendations of Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Adm. Daryl Caudle, the Consolidated Disposition Authority (CDA) for accountability actions relating to the May and November 2021 fuel spills at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility. As the CDA, Adm. Caudle considered all Navy service members whose performance may have been reasonably called into question with one or both of the fuel spills.
“What happened was not acceptable and the Department of the Navy will continue to take every action to identify and remedy this issue. Taking accountability is a step in restoring the trust in our relationship with the community,” said Secretary Del Toro. “We are determined and committed along with all of our partners in this effort to making the necessary changes. We can and will take care of our people, while also preserving and protecting our national security interests in the Pacific and at home. I have determined that there were no leaders in relevant positions at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility worthy of an end of tour award over the period in question.”
The CDA issued Letters of Instruction (LOIs) to Rear Adm. Dean VanderLey and Rear Adm. (ret) Robert Chadwick. VanderLey was Commander, NAVFAC Pacific during the November 2021 spill and Chadwick was Commander, Navy Region Hawaii during the May 2021 spill.
The CDA issued Non-Punitive Letters of Censure to seven Navy captains, three of whom are pending a Board of Inquiry to decide if they may continue their naval service. The CDA also issued LOIs to one Navy commander and one Navy lieutenant commander.
These accountability actions reflect a determination that despite prior organizational challenges and continued oversight failures associated with Red Hill maintenance, modernization, operations, and response, a naval officer is never absolved of the personal requirement to discharge faithfully the duties of the office to the best of their abilities.
The Navy remains committed to environmental stewardship and continues to work closely with federal and state agencies, including the Hawaii Department of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency under an Administrative Order on Consent, to protect human health, the environment and Oahu’s drinking water.
The SLOCs can be found here : https://www.secnav.navy.mil/foia/readingroom/sitepages/home.aspx?RootFolder=%2Ffoia%2Freadingroom%2FHotTopics%2FRED%20HILL%20INVESTIGATION&FolderCTID=0x012000C9F89F68DF40E744A067873ECF6220C0&View=%7B854CB8F6%2D5C90%2D46E6%2DA4A1%2D11FD0F9B23C6%7D
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