The Real Reason USS Cowpens' Commanding Officer Was Fired (Video)
During the recent deployment of the San Diego-based USS Cowpens, commanding officer Capt. Greg Gombert ensconced himself in his cabin for several weeks after becoming ill, putting a female officer in charge with whom Gombert had an “unduly familiar relationship," according to a report obtained by the Navy Times.
The woman, Lt. Cmdr. Destiny Savage, became the "acting commanding officer:"
Savage, a junior officer who was not fully qualified to be a permanent XO, even led at least two replenishments at sea, where the cruiser took on fuel from an oiler as little as 150 feet away in heavy seas, while the captain was in his cabin, according to the Navy’s investigation and interviews with current and former crew members.
U-T San Diego reports the Navy's investigation found Gombert's relationship with Savage took a seemingly romantic turn in December:
Savage was frequently seen making dinner for Gombert in his cabin and keeping her toiletries in his private bathroom there.
The two officers were observed holding hands, with fingers enlaced... and the two went away for days together during port visits.
Savage and Gombert reportedly spent a three-day Christmas holiday in a hotel two hours’ drive from Subic Bay (in the Philippines).
During the Cowpens' seven-month deployment to the Western Pacific, the ship provided humanitarian aid to the Philippines in November 2013 following Super Typhoon Haiyan.
On Dec. 5, 2013, a Chinese warship almost collided with the Cowpens in the international waters of the South China Sea. At the time, the U.S. Pacific Fleet released a statement that read:
"This incident underscores the need to ensure the highest standards of professional seamanship, including communications between vessels, to mitigate the risk of an unintended incident or mishap."
As Home Post previously reported, the Navy relieved Gombert of his duties as commanding officer of the Cowpens in June.
U-T San Diego reported that at a July 25 administrative hearing called an admiral's mast, both Gombert and Savage were found guilty of fraternization.
Vice Adm. Tom Copeman wrote in the Navy's investigative report:
“The violations revealed by the investigation, especially the blatant abdication of command responsibility on the part of the (commanding officer), are among the most egregious I have encountered in my 32-year career.”
According to a retired Naval officer interviewed by 10News, Gombert's actions put his entire crew at risk: