The Navy on Friday relieved the commanding officer of Training Support Center Great Lakes in Illinois.
Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad, the commander of Naval Education and Training Command, fired Capt. Mark Meskimen “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.”
“An officer in command has a unique position of trust and responsibility, and a key role in shaping morale, good order and discipline within the command,” said Naval Education and Training Command spokesman Cmdr. James Stockman in an email to Navy Times.
“Because of this unique position, their immediate superiors must have full confidence in the officer’s judgment and ability to command.”
Cozad named Capt. Edward Heflin, NETC’s deputy for training operations, as the acting commanding officer until a permanent replacement is identified and assigned, Stockman added.
On the morning of Oct. 8, sailors discovered the dead body of Fire Controlman Seaman Recruit Joshua F. Edge, 24, in his barracks at Training Support Center Great Lakes, triggering an ongoing probe by Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents.
Foul play is not suspected.
Officials refused to say if there was any connection between the death and Meskimen’s relief.
“Meskimen was relieved due to loss of confidence in his ability to command. Due to privacy of those involved we cannot comment on the details of the investigation,” said Stockman.
Navy Times reached Meskimen on his cellphone to try to ask him if his firing had anything to do with the death investigation.
“I ain’t gonna talk to you,” he said before quickly hanging up.
Meskimen, 54, has been temporarily reassigned to Naval Service Training Command at Great Lakes, according to Stockman.
An Iowa native, Meskimen enlisted in the Navy in 1982 and attended Electronics Technician "A" School Great Lakes before serving aboard the frigate Vandergrift and the guided-missile destroyer John Paul Jones, according to his official military biography.
He was commissioned 11 years later in the Limited Duty Officer Program (Surface Electronics) and was assigned to the destroyer Russell.
Meskimen later served aboard the aircraft carriers Abraham Lincoln and Carl Vinson, plus the amphibious assault ship Essex.
Meskimen took command of Training Center Great Lakes on Nov. 10, 2016.
His decorations include five Meritorious Service Medals and three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals.