PHIBRON 5 Commodore Removed from Command

December 2, 2023 10:18 PM
USS Boxer (LHD 4) and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) transit the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 4, 2023. U.S. Navy Photo

The commander of a California-based amphibious squadron was removed from command on Friday following an arrest last week in Coronado, USNI News has learned.

Capt. James Harney, commander of Amphibious Squadron 5, was reassigned from the leadership of the three-ship PHIBRON following an arrest for driving under the influence, two Navy officials confirmed to USNI News on Saturday.

When contacted on Saturday, the desk sergeant on duty at the Coronado Police Department referred USNI News to NCIS.

The Navy attributed the relief “to a loss of confidence in Capt. Harney’s ability to perform his duties,” reads a Friday statement from the Navy.

“Capt. Tate Robinson will assume the duties as commodore of [PHIBRON 5]. Capt. Harney will be administratively reassigned to commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.’

PHIBRON 5 includes big deck amphibious ship USS Boxer (LHD-4), amphibious transport dock USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49). The squadron returned from its last deployment in 2019 with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

According to his official Navy biography, Harney is a career surface warfare officer and a 1996 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He had been in command of the squadron since June, according to the service.

Capt. James Harney delivers his remarks after taking command as commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5 during a change of command ceremony aboard amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD-4). US Navy Photo

The following is the complete Dec. 1, statement. from the Navy:

Amphibious Squadron 5 Commodore Relieved

The commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, Rear Adm. Randall Peck, relieved Capt. James Harney, commodore of Amphibious Squadron 5, on Dec. 1, 2023 due to a loss of confidence in Capt. Harney’s ability to perform his duties.

Capt. Tate Robinson will assume the duties as commodore of Amphibious Squadron 5. Capt. Harney will be administratively reassigned to Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Navy leaders are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct, both on and off duty. They are expected to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, reliability, and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable when they fall short of those standards.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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