Commander, CMC Removed From Destroyer USS Bulkeley

navy commanders

USS Bulkeley Cmdr. Devine Johnson, left, and Command Master Chief Earl Sanders, right, were relieved of their duties on Friday, June 10, 2022. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

Both the commanding officer and the command master chief of the USS Bulkeley were relieved of their duties Friday, June 10, according to a statement released Saturday by the Navy.

Commodore Capt. Stefan Walch relieved Cmdr. Devine Johnson and Command Master Chief Earl Sanders “due to a loss of confidence in their ability to effectively function as a command leadership team,” according to the Navy statement. Further details about how the pair lost confidence were not immediately available.

Johnson was commissioned into the Navy in 2003 and had served as the commanding officer of the destroyer Bulkeley since July 2020. He had also served as the ship’s executive director for several months before taking over as commanding officer.

Capt. William “Mac” Harkin, deputy commodore of Destroyer Squadron 2, will temporarily take over commanding officer duties of the Bulkeley until a permanent replacement is assigned, the Navy said.

Bulkeley

Cmdr. Devine Johnson, left, and Command Master Chief Earl Sanders, center left, during a meeting March 23, 2022. Johnson and Sanders were relieved of their duties on the guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley “due to a loss of confidence in their ability to effectively function as a command leadership team,” according to the Navy. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anna E. Van Nuys.

Cmdr. Devine Johnson, left, and Command Master Chief Earl Sanders, center left, pictured during a meeting on March 23, 2022. Johnson and Sanders were relieved of their duties on the guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley “due to a loss of confidence in their ability to effectively function as a command leadership team,” according to the Navy. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anna E. Van Nuys.

Sanders enlisted in the Navy in 1997 and had served as the Bulkeley’s command master chief since June 2021. He will be replaced by Master Chief Petty Officer Christy Reed, also of Destroyer Squadron 2, until a permanent replacement is named, according to the Navy.

Johnson and Sanders are being temporarily reassigned to the staff of the commander of Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

The Bulkeley is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer first commissioned in 2001. The ship is home-ported at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

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Hannah Ray Lambert is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die Magazine who previously covered everything from murder trials to high school trap shooting teams. She spent several months getting tear-gassed during the 2020-21 civil unrest in Portland, Oregon. When she’s not working, Hannah enjoys hiking, reading, and talking about authors and books on her podcast Between Lewis and Lovecraft.
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