U.S. Navy Relieves Amphib Squadron Leader After DUI Arrest

Capt. James Harney, Commodor of PHIBRON 5, aboard USS Boxer in 2023 (USN)
Capt. James Harney, Commodor of PHIBRON 5, aboard USS Boxer in 2023 (USN)

Published Dec 6, 2023 9:53 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Navy has relieved the commander of a San Diego amphibious assault squadron of duty after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. 

Capt. James Harney was commodore of Amphibious Assault Squadron 5, based in San Diego. PHIBRON 5 is the home of the amphibs USS Boxer, USS John P. Murtha and USS Harpers Ferry, which operate collectively as the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group. 

Last week, Capt. Harney's superior officer removed him from command due to a "loss of confidence in Capt. Harney’s ability to perform his duties." He has been replaced by Capt. Tate Robinson, former commodore of PHIBRON 1. 

"Navy leaders are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct, both on and off duty. They are expected to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, reliability, and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable when they fall short of those standards," the Navy said in a statement.

The Navy does not discuss personnel decisions, but the San Diego Union Tribune reported that Capt. Harney had been arrested the week earlier on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and "felony driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury." According to the Coronado Times, at about 1930 hours on Nov. 22 - the night before Thanksgiving - Harney was involved in a collision with a vehicle on Rendova Circle, a small residential street on Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. The Coronado Police Department confirmed the incident to local media. 

Harney received a commission in 1996 from the U.S. Naval Academy, and went on to earn a masters in computer science from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He served at sea aboard the cruiser USS Chosin and the destroyers USS McFaul, USS Peterson and USS Ross, and he commanded the cruiser USS Port Royal and destroyer USS Russell. He served in a variety of shoreside commands, including a joint operations post at U.S. Africa Command. He has been administratively reassigned to Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.