The executive officer of the destroyer Winston Churchill was relieved Friday due to a “loss of confidence” in his ability to lead and failure to follow a “lawful order,” according to Naval Surface Force Atlantic.
Multiple media reports claim that Cmdr. Lucian Kins was relieved for failing to receive the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine and comply with COVID-19 testing. According to the Associated Press, Kins is the first officer in the Navy ousted for failing to comply with that policy.
Lt. Cmdr. Jason Fischer, a spokesman for Naval Surface Force Atlantic, said he could not speak to Kins’ vaccination and testing status due to privacy concerns. Likewise, when asked if Kins had applied for a religious exemption, Fischer said that “we don’t comment on administrative actions taken by service members.”
“On December 10, 2021, Commander, Naval Surface Squadron 14, Capt. Ken Anderson, relieved Cmdr. Lucian Kins as executive officer of USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) due to loss of confidence in Kins’ ability to perform his duties,” Fischer said in a statement.
“Lt. Cmdr. Han Yi, the ship’s plans and tactics officer, is temporarily assigned as executive officer until a permanent relief is identified,” Fischer said. “Kins will be reassigned to the staff of Naval Surface Squadron 14.”
The Navy announced in October that it was forming the COVID Consolidated Disposition Authority to separate sailors who don’t receive the jab, and has since unveiled other administrative actions it will take against those who fail to receive a COVID-19 vaccine exemption. Such actions include losing out on education benefits, promotions and bonus pay.
Likewise, the Navy announced in November that unvaccinated sailors will face COVID-19 testing on a weekly basis.
Active duty sailors had until Nov. 14 to get their last COVID-19 vaccine dose to meet the Nov. 28 deadline for full vaccination. Those in the Navy Reserve have until Dec. 14 to meet the deadline for fully vaccinated status on Dec. 28.
According to the Navy, 5,731 active duty sailors remain unvaccinated as of Dec. 9. Meanwhile, the Navy has signed off on seven permanent medical exemptions, 326 temporary medical exemptions, and 124 administrative exemptions.
Although 2,705 active duty sailors put in requests for a religious waiver, which falls under administrative exemptions, the Navy has so far approved none of those requests.