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Navy cans warship CO

The commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer Decatur was fired Thursday after superiors lost confidence in his ability to command, officials say.

Cmdr. Bob Bowen, 55, had been in charge of the San Diego-based warship since mid-2018.

Navy officials declined to specify what sparked Bowen’s relief, but U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesman Cmdr. John Fage said a command investigation completed last month preceded the firing.

Bowen did not immediately respond to a request for comment submitted through Navy officials. Attempts by Navy Times to contact him directly by phone and email were not successful.

He is being temporarily reassigned “to a command in San Diego,” Fage said.

The guided-missile destroyer Decatur in 2016. The warship had a close encounter recently with a Chinese destroyer sailing the South China Sea. (Navy)
Video shows near collision of US and Chinese warships

The footage — obtained by the South China Morning Post newspaper purportedly from the British Ministry of Defence ― shows a Chinese Luyang-class destroyer nearing the port side of the American guided-missile destroyer Decatur.

Cmdr. Jerry Jackson has assumed command of the warship’s crew until the scheduled fleet-up of the destroyer’s executive officer, Cmdr. Derek Rader, according to Fage.

A North Carolina native, Bowen enlisted in 1984, made chief and was commissioned in 2000 and later selected to Unrestricted Line as a Surface Warfare Officer, according to Navy records.

As an officer, he served on board the guided-missile destroyers Howard and Kidd.

He took charge of the Decatur in April 2018 and commanded the destroyer when it nearly collided with a Chinese vessel four months later near contested islands in the South China Sea.

His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, two Joint Service Commendation Medals and six Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, according to his official biography.

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