Less than eight months after he took command of the guided-missile cruiser Normandy, Capt. Simon McKeon has been canned.
On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Rear Adm. Greg Huffman, the commander of Carrier Strike Group 12, relieved McKeon “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” according to a prepared statement released in the wake of the firing.
According to 2nd Fleet spokesperson Cmdr. Lara Bollinger, McKeon’s relief stemmed from an ongoing Naval Criminal Investigative Service probe.
“It would be inappropriate to provide further comment as this investigation is ongoing,” she told Coffee or Die Magazine.
The Ticonderoga-class Normandy is underway in the Atlantic Ocean as the primary escort of the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford. Capt. Gary Chase, the commanding officer of a sister Tico, Vicksburg, has been temporarily reassigned to helm Normandy until a permanent replacement can be named.
A Navy statement insisted that there will be “no impacts to mission or schedule due to this relief.”
Attempts by Coffee or Die to contact McKeon, 47, by phone, text, and email messages weren’t successful.
No other member of the command triad was relieved, Bollinger said.
A Connecticut native, McKeon is a career surface warfare officer. He was commissioned in 1998 after graduating from the US Naval Academy.
He made captain on June 1, 2020.
Before taking the helm of Normandy during a change-of-command ceremony in Virginia Beach on March 24, McKeon served as the branch chief for the Space and Missile Defense Branch Joint Staff.
At sea, McKeon served on board the guided-missile cruiser Anzio and the frigate Doyle before becoming the weapons and combat systems officer on board the guided-missile destroyer Decatur.
There, he executed the first successful exo-atmospheric destruction of a ballistic missile by an Arleigh Burke-class warship.
He also participated in Operation Burnt Frost, the 2008 interception and detonation of the malfunctioning US National Reconnaissance Office satellite USA-193 and its hydrazine propellant.
After serving as the executive officer of the guided-missile destroyer Curtis Wilbur, he fleeted up to take command of the warship.
Ashore, McKeon has served at US Naval Forces Europe, the US 6th Fleet, and US Naval Forces Africa, and held a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency fellowship.
His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, three Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and four
Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to include a statement from 2nd Fleet and more details from McKeon’s military records.