NORFOLK, Va. — Investigators have concluded that a Navy hospital ship designed to perform humanitarian missions and build goodwill for the U.S. abroad was plagued by leadership problems for years before it set off to Latin America last spring with a brand-new commanding officer.
Citing investigative reports it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, The Virginian-Pilot reports that Capt. Rachel Haltner was relieved of command in March 2015 after her crew described high levels of stress and a lack of trust.
Capt. Christine Sears was brought in to replace Haltner days before the hospital ship Comfort sailed away from Norfolk to treat more than 122,000 patients in 11 countries during Operation Continuing Promise.
Haltner had been the commanding officer since August 2013, when her predecessor was removed for poor leadership.