Fired over fireworks: US Navy relieves senior USS Bainbridge leadership

The U.S. Navy has fired the commanding officer, former executive officer and command master chief of USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) after an investigation found commercial fireworks were stored on board the ship.

Leaders of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, based at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia were relieved by the Commander of the Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 28, Capt. Richard Brawley, after they failed to properly address cases of sailors carrying fireworks on board and engaging in unlawful gambling.

Cmdr. Sean Rongers was relieved of his duties by Brawley due to loss of confidence in his ability to command following the investigation while former executive officer, Cmdr. Brandon Murray, and Command Master Chief Richard Holmes have been temporarily reassigned by Brawley.

The investigation found that both Murray and Holmes were fully aware of the purchase and storage of fireworks.

Initial findings also determined that Rongers and Murray organized poker nights and gambled with several commissioned officers from USS Bainbridge, USNI News reported.

Cmdr. Marty Robertson has assumed command. The prospective executive officer, Cmdr. Patrick Murphy has already reported on board, as previously scheduled. Gas Turbine Systems Technician Master Chief Todd Starks, assigned to DESRON 28, has assumed duties as command master chief until a permanent relief is identified.

Rongers has commanded Bainbridge since November 2014. Murray served as the ship’s executive officer from October 2014 to March 2016. Holmes has served as Bainbridge’s command master chief since November 2014. All three have been reassigned to Commander, Naval Surface Force, Atlantic.