Drunken sailors: US frigate commander fired over crew's Russian bender

U.S. Navy guided-missile frigate USS Vandegrift.(Reuters / Yuri Maltsev)
The commanding officer of San Diego-based frigate USS Vandegrift has been relieved from duty after his crew’s misconduct, aggravated by alcohol, during a visit to Russia’s port of Vladivostok in late September.

­An investigation maintained that during a three-day stop at Vladivostok the officers of USS Vandegrift violated established personal conduct policies, reports the US Navy's official website.

The official Navy statement on the incident does not disclose the nature of the offence, only mentions “personal conduct involving use of alcohol.” Russian news agencies have not reported the exact details of the incident either.

Commander of Destroyer Squadron 15 Capt. John L. Schultz relieved Vandegrift's chief officer Cmdr. Joseph F. Darlak “due to loss of confidence after demonstrating poor leadership and failure to ensure the proper conduct of his wardroom officers during a September port visit in Vladivostok, Russia.”

Cmdr. Joseph F. Darlak served as USS Vandegrift’s commanding officer for a mere three months, from July 27.

The delinquency list also includes the executive officer Lt. Cmdr. Ivan A. Jimenez, the chief engineer and the operations officer being detached.

The Navy Times reports the dismissals of the officers came after the frigate made a stop at Guam naval base. The detached officers have been re-assigned to Destroyer Squadron 23 in San Diego “pending potential administrative actions.”

The command of USS Vandegrift has been assumed by Capt. H. Thomas Workman, Deputy Commander, Destroyer Squadron 23.

USS Vandegrift (FFG-48) remains deployed in the area of responsibility and will return to home port San Diego in late November.