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U.S. Navy Replaces Destroyer's CO for Second Time in Six Months

USS Howard
USS Howard (USN file image)

Published Feb 6, 2024 4:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Navy is having a hard time keeping the top post filled aboard one of its destroyers at U.S. 7th Fleet. For the second time in less than six months, it has relieved the commanding officer of USS Howard, a 25-year-old Arleigh Burke destroyer assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15.  

Commander Cameron Dennis, who took over as CO in September, has been reassigned to staff. As is usual, 7th Fleet cited only "loss of confidence in his ability to perform his duties." It was his first warship command. 

Captain Dave Huljack, second in command of DESRON 15, will take over as CO on an acting basis until the squadron appoints a permanent commander. Huljack previously commanded the destroyer USS Barry, and most recently served as the chief of staff for strategy on the Joint Staff. 

The personnel change is not expected to affect the ship's schedule. 

Cmdr. Dennis' predecessor, Cmdr. Kenji Igawa, was removed from his post as CO of USS Howard in August. Igawa's ouster followed shortly after USS Howard briefly ran aground on a soft bottom in Bali. 

Like Dennis, Igawa had only served as CO aboard USS Howard for a matter of months when he was removed. 7th Fleet had publicly praised his performance shortly before  it lost confidence in his ability to command, saying that Igawa's "leadership and dedication to service is a testimony of what makes the United States a great nation."