US frigate commander sacked after drunken Vladivostok port call

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 November, 2012, 4:18am

The commander and top officers of a San Diego-based navy frigate have been relieved of duty after a rowdy, booze-fuelled port visit to Vladivostok, Russia.

Commander Joseph Darlak, skipper of the USS Vandegrift, has been removed by Captain John Schultz after an investigation "due to loss of confidence after demonstrating poor leadership and failure to ensure the proper conduct of his wardroom officers" during the three-day September stop, the US Navy said.

Executive officer Lieutenant Commander Ivan Jimenez and the ship's chief engineer and operations officer were also relieved of duty "for personal conduct involving use of alcohol and not adhering to established liberty policies", the statement said.

The names of the two lower-ranked officers were not released because their positions are not considered public under navy policy, and naval officials did not give specifics.

In a post on the official Facebook page of the navy's 7th Fleet, the commander celebrated the visit as it began on September 20.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to visit Vladivostok and experience all the city has to offer," Darlak said in the post. "Our sailors are especially looking forward to making new friends."

The officers were relieved during a port visit in Guam, and they will be temporarily reassigned in San Diego pending more possible administrative actions, the Navy Times reported.

Darlak, a 1990 Naval Academy graduate, took command of the Vandegrift in Singapore in July. He was the ship's 17th commanding officer.

Captain Thomas Workman, a deputy commander from the ship's squadron, had taken over the Vandegrift until it returns to San Diego at the end of its seven-month deployment later this month, the statement said, and the navy emphasised that the ship remains fully ready for any mission.

Additional reporting by Reuters


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