The Navy may be cashiering its commanders at a fast clip, but this week it took the highly unusual step of rehabilitating an officer who was fired in 2009 after his ship failed inspection.
Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Tucker, commander of the USS Devastator, a minesweeper, was fired in March 2009 for not “maintaining ship readiness standards,” according to the Navy. On June 15, however, after a long appeal, Tucker got some good news: The Board of Correction of Naval Records effectively ruled that he wasn’t to blame after all and that the firing should be expunged from his personnel record.
It’s the first time in at least three decades that a Navy commanding officer has successfully appealed and overturned a firing offense, according to Lt. Alana Garas, a Navy spokeswoman.
“It’s highly unusual,” she said. “We’re going to work with him to determine the best course of action to make him successful again. His career up until [the firing] had been stellar.”
Tucker remains assigned to the Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command, based in San Diego.
The Navy has no shortage of command billets to fill these days. So far this year, the Navy has fired a dozen commanding officers, a near-record rate, with the bulk getting the ax for offenses related to sex, alcohol or other forms of personal misconduct.