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CO of Destroyer USS Stout Removed from Command

Cmdr. Jefferey Applebaugh is saluted by the crew of the guided-missile destroyer USS Stout (DDG-55) on June 2, 2023. US Navy Photo

This post was updated with additional caption information.

The commander of an East Coast guided-missile destroyer was removed from command on Friday due to poor performance, Navy officials told USNI News.

Cmdr. Jeffery Applebaugh was removed as the commanding officer of Norfolk-based USS Stout (DDG 55) by Capt. Blair Guy, commander of Destroyer Squadron 28, “due to loss of confidence in his ability to command,” reads a Monday statement from the Navy.

“Applebaugh served as commanding officer since October 2022. Capt. Scott Rosetti will be temporarily assigned as commanding officer until permanent relief, Cmdr. Desmond Walker, takes command,” reads a statement from the service.

“Applebaugh will be temporarily reassigned to the staff of Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic.”

A Navy official told USNI News Applebaugh was not relieved for misconduct.

The ship issued a message of support following the removal.

“Thank you for your dedication, your kindness, your professionalism, your compassion, your understanding, your commitment to the ship and [its] crew, and their safety and well-being, your knowledge, and your mentorship,” reads a message on the ship’s Facebook page.
“Most of all, thank you for always putting the ship and the crew first. Good luck, and we will continue to get STOUT ready for battle.”

Originally from New Hampshire, Applebaugh graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 2005 and served on cruisers and destroyers at sea. He served as Stout’s executive officer from March 22, 2021, until he took command in October.

Ashore he served in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and as an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, according to his official bio.

Applebaugh’s removal from command follows the removal of the commander and executive officer of USS John Finn (DDG-113) last month.