A US Coast Guard probe found Capt. Marc Brandt responsible for the cutter James running aground this summer, and he’s been permanently relieved of command.
Vice Adm. Kevin Lunday, commander of Coast Guard Atlantic Area, told Brandt he was fired on Monday, Nov. 7. Brandt remains a member of the Portsmouth, Virginia-based Atlantic Area staff pending permanent reassignment, but Lunday lost confidence in the captain’s ability to helm the cutter.
“It’s a very rare instance when the Coast Guard relieves any commanding officer of any kind, but this also marks the first time a commanding officer of a Legend-class national security cutter has been relieved,” Cmdr. Daniel Schrader, a spokesperson for Atlantic Area, told Coffee or Die Magazine.
Brandt, 46, didn’t return Coffee or Die messages seeking comment.
Lunday had temporarily removed Brandt on Aug. 26, pending the results of the probe. Eighteen days earlier, James ran aground while underway, damaging the cutter, although no personnel were injured.
Capt. John Driscoll assumed temporary command of the cutter following Brandt’s relief and will remain at the helm until a permanent skipper is assigned.
Homeported in Charleston, South Carolina, James carries 148 officers and crew.
A native of Exeter, California, Brandt was commissioned after graduating from the US Coast Guard Academy in 1998.
He previously served on board the cutter Sedge in Alaskan waters before joining the cutter Ledet’s counternarcotics missions off Central America.
Brandt commanded the cutters Stingray and Northland. He also served as the executive officer on board the cutters Northland, Legare, Stratton, and Spencer.
An exchange officer who qualified as a US Navy surface warfare officer, Brandt has navigated the guided-missile cruiser Antietam.
He also served with the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson’s battle group in the Persian Gulf before and after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Brandt’s shore assignments included work on two intelligence projects and a stint in the Coast Guard’s aviation acquisition office.