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Navy fires Fitzgerald XO

The executive officer of the guided-missile destroyer Fitzgerald was relieved late last month.

Cmdr. Chris Kennedy was relieved on Sept. 29 “due to a loss of confidence in her ability to serve as executive officer,” Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, a Naval Surface Forces spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement.

The relief was not based on any investigation and was a matter of commanders losing confidence “in her abilities due to a review of her performance,” Schwegman said.

Kennedy became the Fitz’s XO in December, while the ship was still in a Mississippi shipyard undergoing massive repairs after a 2017 at-sea collision that killed seven sailors on board.

Fitzgerald has since arrived at its new home port in San Diego.

Schwegman said Kennedy declined to comment Friday.

Kennedy’s removal was not publicized due to a policy change that went into effect last year for reasons that remain unclear.

While reliefs of commanding officers are still announced, the service no longer publicizes firings of XOs or command master chiefs.

A reader alerted Navy Times to Kennedy’s relief.

Cmdr. Mike Sledge is serving as the warship’s second-in-command until a permanent replacement is named.

A Florida native, Kennedy was commissioned in 2003 and attained her current rank in September 2019, according to her service record.

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