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Navy fires SEAL commodore in latest high-profile dismissal

The Navy has fired the SEAL commodore for Navy Special Warfare Group Eight (NSWG-8) citing a “loss of confidence in his ability to command,” according to a service statement.

Capt. Richard A. Zaszewski was relieved of his command Wednesday, though details surrounding the incident weren’t provided in the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSW) press release.

Military Times earlier reported that Zaszewski was dismissed after being charged with a misdemeanor DWI on Jan. 19 and not reporting it to superiors until last week, citing Virginia court records and an unnamed defense official.

An NSW spokesperson would not confirm the reason as to Zaszewski’s firing, only that the decision to relieve him was made after “careful consideration of the facts and the imperative to uphold the high standards of Navy leadership.”

The service said Deputy Commodore Capt. Stig Sanness has assumed Zaszewski’s role at NSWG-8, which is headquartered at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Va., and focuses on undersea, cyber and electronic warfare operations.

Zaszewski, a Navy SEAL, had spent nearly two decades assigned to “East Coast-based Special Warfare Units” with numerous military awards to his name including the Silver Star and three Bronze Stars, according to his service records.

This is at least the Navy’s fifth firing of a high-ranking official so far this year. Earlier this month, the service fired Capt. Kurt D. Balagna, the commanding officer of the USS Ohio guided missile submarine. The Navy only offered its usual “loss of confidence” reasoning for the dismissal.

That followed the Feb. 6 firing of Cmdr. Cameron Dennis, head of the Japan-based Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Howard — a ship tasked with deterring the Chinese military.

In mid-January, the service dismissed Capt. Geoffry Patterson, the commanding officer of the submarine USS Georgia’s blue crew.

“Navy leaders are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct,” the NSW said in a statement. “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.”

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