Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Richard Ward ()
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The command master chief of Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group was fired at admiral's mast late Tuesday afternoon for fraternization with two of his chief petty officers and other infractions, the Navy confirmed this evening.
Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Richard Ward, a 23-year veteran, was relieved by Rear Adm. Mark Belton, the group's commander, at Cheatham Annex, Va., said Lt. Cmdr. John Gay, spokesman for Navy Expeditionary Combat Command in Norfolk. Belton concluded that Ward had committed fraternization, willfully disobeyed a commissioned officer, made a false official statement and misused a government cell phone. Government phones are for official use only.
The non-judicial punishment stemmed from an investigation into allegations of fraternization that were reported by a member of the command in January, Gay said. Ward was found to have fraternized with two female chief petty officers.
Gay said both also faced non-judicial punishment. "Appropriate action was taken, and they were held accountable," he said. He declined to provide their names or other identifying information, citing privacy concerns for personnel not considered to be public figures.
The investigation remains open, but Gay said he was unaware of any additional action that might result from Ward's misconduct.
Ward's relief is the third announced firing of a command's senior sailor in 2012. A total of 13 such firings were announced last year.
Ward had served as the command's top sailor and commander's enlisted advisor since June 2009. He has been reassigned to the staff of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, Gay said
Senior Chief Engineman Anthony McDuffie of Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group will assume the duties of the group's command master chief on an interim basis, Gay said.
According to Ward's command biography, he's a native of Dallas, Texas, and enlisted in October 1988. His service includes assignments aboard the frigate Samuel E. Morison, Naval Air Reserve, Destroyer Squadron 14, Fleet Logistics Support Wing and service on the National Navy Policy Board in Washington, D.C.
Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group provides supply and transportation support to NECC units. It's comprised of a full-time and selected reserve support staff and five Navy Expeditionary Logistics Regiments, including 11 Navy Cargo Handling Battalions - 10 of them reserve battalions - and a Training and Evaluation Unit.