The Sullivans Commanding Officer Relieved

Story Number: NNS110907-17Release Date: 9/7/2011 6:15:00 PM
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From Commander, U.S. Second Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Second Fleet relieved the commanding officer of USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) due to loss of confidence in his ability to command following Admiral's Mast Sept. 7.

Vice Adm. Daniel Holloway made the determination after Cmdr. Mark Olson failed to follow safety procedures during a gunnery exercise held Aug. 17 in the Cherry Point Operating Area range.

Olson's failure to follow established procedures resulted in USS The Sullivans targeting a civilian fishing vessel, which was mistaken for a towed target that The Sullivans was directed to engage. The Sullivans fired inert rounds that landed close to the fishing vessel. The vessel and its crew were not harmed.

USS The Sullivans was scheduled to deploy Sep. 7, but that has been delayed to allow the ship's crew to complete necessary pre-deployment certifications that were disrupted in part by changes in the ship's schedule stemming from the gunnery incident, along with some recertifications with the ship's new commanding officer.

Olson, who had been in command since June 2010, is being temporarily reassigned to administrative duties on the staff of Destroyer Squadron 14.

Cmdr. Sylvester Steele will assume command of USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) Sept. 8.

USS The Sullivans is homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.

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