Coast Guard Rear Adm. Andrew Tiongson relieved the commanding officer of the cutter Marcus Hanna last week “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” officials announced Monday.
Tiongson, the First Coast Guard District commander, removed Chief Warrant Officer Joshua L. Horne on Aug. 7 and put Chief Warrant Officer P. W. Morkis in charge of the 175-foot South Portland, Maine-based Keeper-class coastal buoy tender until a permanent replacement can be found.
With a crew of 24, Marcus Hanna is responsible for 376 aids to navigation stretching from Boston to St. John’s Bay, Maine, plus search and rescue missions, icebreaking and coastal security patrols, according to the agency.
“This was an administrative action,” said Coast Guard spokeswoman Public Affairs Specialist 2nd Class Nicole Groll in Boston.
Groll declined to pinpoint why he was relieved but Horne told Navy Times it stemmed from a liberty incident in April. The investigation wrapped up this month.
“Our performance on the cutter was fine,” Horne, a career boatswain’s mate, told Navy Times during a Monday afternoon telephone call. “It had nothing to do with the cutter.”
Echoing officials in Boston, Horne said that it was the first blemish in a two-decade career that included duty in the northern Persian Gulf, an executive petty officer position on board the Florida-based cutter Maria Bray and his work in Puerto Rico, where he was decorated for his role in a rescue mission during a ferry cruiser disaster.
Horne was frocked a CWO2 during a Sector San Juan ceremony on March 24, 2017 and he took command of the cutter shortly after that.
“It was a morale event after a Boston Red Sox game and then things got out of control,” he said. “I take full responsibility for my actions and I apologize to the crew. I hope that this incident doesn’t define a career.”