Navy One-Star Admiral Fired amid Pending Investigation into Off-Duty Incident

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Rear Adm. Erik Ross on Aug. 23, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Brianna Frazier)
Rear Adm. Erik Ross on Aug. 23, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Brianna Frazier)

This article by Jeff Schogol originally appeared on Task & Purpose, a digital news and culture publication dedicated to military and veterans issues.

Navy Rear Adm. Erik Ross was fired as commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 2 on Friday as 2nd Fleet plans to launch an investigation into "an alleged off-duty incident calling into question his judgment," a fleet spokeswoman said.

"Beyond that it would be inappropriate to discuss any details until completion of the investigation," said Lt. Cmdr. Ashley Hockycko. "Due to the ongoing nature of investigations, it would be inappropriate to speculate on any charges at this time."

A 1988 graduate of Cornell University, Ross is a surface warfare officer who commanded the dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island from February 2006 to August 2007, and the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan from August 2011 to February 2013, according to his Navy biography.

His first assignment as a flag officer was serving as president of the Board of Inspection and Survey from June 2017 to May 2019. Ships are required to pass INSURV inspections to make sure they meet Navy standards.

Ross has been temporarily reassigned to 2nd Fleet pending the completion of the investigation, a fleet news release says. Capt. Darren Nelson has temporarily assumed command of Expeditionary Strike Group 2 until a permanent replacement can be found.

Friday's announcement could signal that the Navy is once again announcing when senior leaders are relieved of command, which had been a longstanding tradition until former Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson's tenure. Richardson retired in August and was replaced by current Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday.

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