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Task Force 56 Commander Fired As Investigation Of January Riverine Incident Wraps Up

Riverine sailors detained by IRGCN forces on Jan. 12, 2016 off Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf.

Riverine sailors detained by IRGCN forces on Jan. 12, 2016 off Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf.

The Navy relieved the Task Force 56 commander who oversaw the 10 sailors on two riverine craft detained by Iran earlier this year, citing loss of confidence in his ability to command.

Capt. Kyle Moses was relieved of duty today after facing earlier administrative actions.

Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, made the announcement today and appointed Capt. Richard Meyer, who recently served as NAVCENT’s chief of staff, as interim Task Force 56 commander.

“Several weeks ago, I had initially taken what I felt was appropriate administrative and corrective action involving Capt. Moses based on the preliminary results of the investigation, which I began immediately after we recovered our Sailors,” Donegan said in a Navy news release.
“However, after thoroughly examining the findings of the final, comprehensive investigation, I determined that this additional action was necessary.”

Navy spokesman Lt. Loren Terry told USNI News that “the investigation is complete, and is being referred to appropriate commands for adjudication. The Navy expects to release the findings of the completed investigation soon. Additional details will be made available at that time.”

NAVCENT’s Task Force 56 leads the Navy’s expeditionary combat forces in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility and oversees a range of missions, including explosive ordnance disposal, naval coastal warfare, Seabees, expeditionary logistics support forces, and riverine forces.

After the two riverine boats were detained in the Persian Gulf Jan. 12 and brought to Farsi Island by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) forces, U.S. Navy sources said the two boats veered off course due to navigational error. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said later, though, that despite the boats ending up in Iranian waters, Iran violated international law in boarding the sovereign U.S. vessels and forcing the crew ashore on Farsi Island.

The commanding officer of Coastal Riverine Squadron 3, Cmdr. Eric Rasch, was fired in May as a result of the incident.

Categories: News & Analysis, U.S. Navy
Megan Eckstein

About Megan Eckstein

Megan Eckstein is a staff writer for USNI News. She previously covered Congress for Defense Daily and the U.S. surface navy and U.S. amphibious operations as an associate editor for Inside the Navy.