The Navy announced Thursday it has relieved the commander of the 10 American sailors who were taken captive by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps in January.
Cmdr. Eric Rasch was fired May 12 from his position within the Coastal Riverine Squadron 3 due to "a loss of confidence in his ability to command" as executive officer, the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command said Thursday. He was responsible for the training and readiness of the 400-plus sailors in the unit.
CRG-1 Capt. Gary Leigh said he made the decision after concluding a preliminary investigation into the Jan. 12-13 incident. The U.S. sailors were taken hostage for 15 hours after sailing into Iranian territory in the Persian Gulf.
A Navy official told the Associated Press that Rasch failed to provide effective leadership, leading to a lack of oversight, complacency and failure to maintain standards in the unit. Rasch has been relieved of his command duties and reassigned.
Rasch has been temporarily reassigned to CRG-1. Capt. Stanfield Chien, the prospective deputy of CRG-1, was appointed interim command of CRS-3.