CO of USS Ohio Gold Crew Removed from Command

March 13, 2024 9:52 AM - Updated: March 14, 2024 5:41 AM
Marines assigned to the 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, III Marine Expeditionary Force, assemble a combat rubber raiding craft during a regularly scheduled exercise aboard the Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Ohio (SSGN-726) on Feb. 9, 2021. US Marine Corps Photo

The commander of the gold crew of the guided-missile submarine USS Ohio (SSGN-726) was removed from command, the Navy announced on Wednesday.

Rear Adm. Nicholas Tilbrook, commander of the Washington state-based Submarine Group, removed Capt. Kurt Balagna “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” according to the statement.

Capt. Kurt Balagna

“The prospective commanding officer, Capt. Andrew Cain, has assumed duties as commanding officer,” reads the release.

A Navy official told USNI News the relief was related to conduct rather than performance reasons, but did not provide details.

Balagna had commanded the gold crew of Ohio since 2020, according to a copy of his Navy biography reviewed by USNI News.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1993 and commissioned in 1997 after graduating from the University of Illinois. Balagna previously was the executive officer of attack boat USS Virginia (SSN-774) and commanded the attack boat USS Annapolis (SSN-760).

Ohio is one of four guided-missile submarines that were converted from carrying Trident II D5 nuclear ballistic missiles to Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles.

Commissioned in 1981, the first-in-class submarine is among the oldest in the U.S. Navy’s fleet.

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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