Capt. Sean McDonell, left, and Command Master Chief (SCW) Pedro Villacorta were fired Nov. 27 as commanding officer and CMC of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 14. The unit's previous CMC, Command Master Chief (SCW/SS) William McCrae, was fired from his post as CMC of NMCB 23 for his actions while with NMCB 14. (Navy photos)
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The Navy fired the current and former leaders of a Jacksonville, Fla.-based Seabee reserve battalion Tuesday due to "mismanagement and major program deficiencies," Navy Expeditionary Combat Command said in separate news releases.
Capt. Sean McDonell, commander of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 14, was fired by Capt. Roger Motzko, commodore of the 3rd Naval Construction Regiment, because of "his loss of confidence in McDonell's ability to command," a Wednesday NECC news release said. Motzko also fired Command Master Chief (SCW) Pedro Villacorta of NMCB 14 for "substandard performance," a Friday release said.
And in an unusual step, the unit's previous CMC, Command Master Chief (SCW/SS) William McCrae, was removed from his post as the top sailor at Fort Belvoir, Va.-based Naval Construction Battalion 23.
The reliefs were prompted by the results of a naval inspector general report, initiated after a hotline complaint, which found problems with a host of programs, the NECC spokeswoman said.
The report found issues with ammunition handling, the drug and alcohol program, travel authorizations, physical readiness testing and training, the Seabee warfare qualification program, performance evaluation standards and improper delegation of nonjudicial punishment authority.
"In each of those cases there was some kind of mismanagement or program deficiency," said NECC spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Charity Hardison.
McDonell's relief brings the Navy to a toll of 25 commanding officers fired this year — only one shy of the modern record set in 2003.
McDonell, a Marquette University alum, is a Seabee reservist first commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps. He joined the Reserve in 1996, according to his official bio. During his career, he has served in a variety of Seabee billets and earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, four Navy Achievement Medals and various campaign awards.
His deployed for nine months in 2007 to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, as the camp engineer. He later served as the operations officer for 3rd NCR while it readied for a 2010 deployment.
Reached at his Mount Pleasant, S.C., home, McDonell said, "I have no comment on the matter."
The next CO, Cmdr. Mark Williams, is slated to take charge next summer, according to the release. In the meantime, 3rd NCR operations officer Cmdr. Todd Smith, who has commanded a Seabee battalion, has been named commander.