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Navy fires XO of San Diego-based destroyer

The executive officer of the warship Decatur was fired last week, Navy officials confirmed.

Cmdr. Blandino A. Villanueva was relieved Wednesday “due to a loss of confidence in ability to lead,” according to U.S. Surface Force Pacific spokesman Cmdr. Patrick Evans.

Evans declined to provide details about why the officer was relieved but indicated it was not tied to any specific event.

Villanueva had been the second-in-command aboard the San Diego-based destroyer since February, Evans said.

He has been temporarily reassigned to the Coronado-based SURFPAC staff.

Villanueva did not respond to a phone message or requests for comment submitted through official channels by Navy Times.

Originally from Honolulu, Villanueva is the son of Navy mess specialist from the Philippines. He was commissioned through Officer Candidate School in 1998, two years after graduating from San Diego State University.

Villanueva served as executive officer of the guided-missile destroyer Gridley and in SURFPAC’s aviation department in recent years, according to Navy personnel records and his command bio website.

Villanueva has received two Meritorious Service Medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and an Army Achievement Medal during his career, according to military records.

Lt. Cmdr. Molly Lawton, a Decatur department head, has assumed temporary XO duties until a permanent relief arrives, Evans said.

The San Diego Union-Tribune first reported Villanueva’s firing.

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