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Frigate XO fired for ‘offensive comments'

Feb. 4, 2013 - 10:22AM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 4, 2013 - 10:22AM  |  
Cmdr. James "Slim" Pickens, executive officer of the frigate Gary, has been temporarily relieved.
Cmdr. James "Slim" Pickens, executive officer of the frigate Gary, has been temporarily relieved. (Navy)
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The second-in-command of a deployed frigate was fired Sunday "because of offensive comments and behavior towards the crew," reported Naval Surface Forces Pacific.

Cmdr. James "Slim" Pickens, executive officer of the frigate Gary, was "temporarily relieved" by the Destroyer Squadron 1 commodore, Capt. Mike Elliot, SURFPAC said in their Sunday statement.

The nature of the comments remains unclear, but Rick Chernitzer, a Naval Surface Forces Pacific spokesman, said the alleged misconduct "is part of a pattern of behavior."

The San Diego-based Gary is mid-way through a six-month deployment to 4th Fleet, where it is conducting counter-narcotics patrols. The crew seized $22 million in cocaine in early January and sank the drug-running boat.

Pickens, a former enlisted cryptology maintenance technician, was commissioned in 1997 via the enlisted commissioning program and later served in Baghdad as an individual augmentee. He reported to Gary in October 2011, according to his official bio, which notes he has received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and two Navy Commendation Medals among other awards.

The case is still under investigation, but Pickens has been reassigned to the DESRON 1 staff/. The operations officer is now the acting XO.

Pickens was previously counseled for his conduct, Chernitzer said, though the spokesman declined to provide details.

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