Ron Burnett was fired as the Ashland's command master chief. (Navy)
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The command master chief of a Norfolk-based dock landing ship was fired Wednesday afternoon as the result of an ongoing investigation into the inappropriate touching of a shipmate, Naval Surface Force Atlantic said.
Cmdr. Scott Curtis, commander of the Ashland, relieved Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Ron Burnett "due to loss of confidence" pending completion of the investigation, said SURFLANT spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Bill Urban.
Urban said Curtis fired Burnett after a preliminary review of evidence gathered during an ongoing Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation into the alleged inappropriate touching. Curtis "determined that Master Chief Burnett could no longer serve in the unique position of trust and confidence that a command master chief enjoys, and relieved him of those duties," Urban said.
Burnett could not be reached for comment.
Urban, citing privacy concerns, would not reveal the female sailor's rank or job. The allegation was first reported to Curtis on Jan. 20 while the ship was moored at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Fort Story. The NCIS investigation began immediately, Urban said.
Burnett, who had been command master chief aboard Ashland since November 2009, has been temporarily reassigned to the staff of Amphibious Squadron 8. He enlisted in the Navy in September 1981; his only previous tour as a command master chief prior to Ashland was at Patrol Squadron 10, where he reported in June 2008.
The ship, which has a crew of about 360, is conducting a maintenance availability in port at Metro Machine, a local Norfolk Shipyard.