USA: Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two Commanding Officer Relieved

Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two Commanding Officer Relieved

Commander, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 2, Capt. Timothy Rudderow, relieved Cmdr. Michael Runkle of his duties May 8 as commanding officer, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2, Virginia Beach, Va.

Runkle was relieved due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.

Capt. Dan Shultz, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) Assistant Chief of Staff for Strategy and Technology (N9), will assume command of MDSU 2 until Runkle’s permanent relief is identified. Shultz formerly served as commanding officer of MDSU 2.

EODGRU 2 learned of MDSU 2 command climate concerns in January 2013 after discussions with MDSU 2 members. As a result of those discussions, a command climate survey was ordered in January. The MDSU 2 command climate survey confirmed morale issues and a lack of leadership involvement. Based on those results, EODGRU 2 took administrative actions to correct the identified deficiencies.

As a result of a diving accident in February in which two Sailors drowned, EODGRU 2 convened a command investigation. That investigation brought to light continued command climate weaknesses. Additionally, the investigation revealed safety concerns that were not previously known. The safety issues identified in the EODGRU 2 command investigation were contributing factors in the decision to relieve Runkle.

MDSU 2 is an expeditionary mobile unit homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base, Little Creek-Ft. Story in Virginia Beach, Va. and has conducted salvage operations to support TWA Flight 800, Swiss Air Flight 111, the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minnesota, the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor, and recovery of a downed F-16 Fighting Falcon off the coast of Italy.

Press Release, May 9, 2013; Image: MDSU