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Shipyard CO fired for maintenance shortfalls

Jun. 30, 2010 - 12:26PM   |   Last Updated: Jun. 30, 2010 - 12:26PM  |  
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The commanding officer of Norfolk Naval Shipyard has been fired less than one year after assuming command.

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The commanding officer of Norfolk Naval Shipyard has been fired less than one year after assuming command.

Capt. William Kiestler was relieved Wednesday. Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command, cited a loss of confidence in Kiestler's ability to command. There was no mast, according to NAVSEA spokeswoman Pat Dolan.

The loss of confidence stems from "a series of events over the past few months," Dolan said. Specifically, there was a "failure to ensure critical maintenance work was being performed according to procedure and loss of situational awareness with respect to the status of ongoing submarine projects."

Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va., is one of four shipyards specializing in repairing, overhauling and modernizing ships and submarines. The ballistic submarine Tennessee and fast-attack sub Montpelier are in the shipyard for scheduled maintenance. Dolan said she did not know whether the failures have affected the yard time for either sub.

In addition, the submarine tenders Simon Lake and McKee are in the shipyard for decommissioning.

Kiestler is a mustang who enlisted in 1981. He was appointed to the Naval Academy and graduated in 1986. He took command of Norfolk Naval Shipyard in July 2009. He supervised roughly 1,000 Navy personnel and 8,000 civilians.

Capt. Anthony Mullarky, assistant deputy commander of industrial operations at NAVSEA, will serve as shipyard commander until a new skipper is assigned, Dolan said. Kiestler has been reassigned to the NAVSEA staff.

Kiestler is the 10th skipper fired this year.

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