The U.S. Navy has reportedly removed its first-ever woman commander of the USS Hopper, a guided-missile destroyer vessel based in Pearl Harbor, seemingly because of leadership issues and problems with ‘crew morale’.
Commander Kathryn Dawley took command of the USS Hopper in April 2020 and was the first-ever woman to do so. According to the Pacific Fleet, her removal from command was “due to a loss of confidence in her leadership.”
According to the U.S. Pacific Fleet Spokesman Lt. James Adams, the decision was “based on her overall performance in this critical leadership billet. Morale of the crew played a large factor in the decision to remove her from command.”
The US Navy has, however, stated that no misconduct was associated with her removal.
Ever since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, morale issues have become a frequent cause of concern for the U.S. Navy. Back in January, there was a COVID-19 outbreak aboard the USS Chafee, which became public after crew members of the vessel leaked documents to a Navy-focused news outlet. A Chief Petty officer on the Chafee told the outlet that “the morale is like nothing I’ve ever seen on board. Sailors on board are just defeated and don’t know what to do.”
The USS Hopper is named after Rear Adm. Grace Hopper, who became an important figure in computer science, developing one of the earliest programming languages.
Kathryn Dawley, the dismissed Commander, had enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1997 and dreamed of commanding the USS Hopper, according to the press release at the time of her assumption of command.
“Hopper has been my dream since I commissioned,” she was quoted as saying at the time. “As a role model, Rear Adm. Grace Hopper embodied the qualities of a naval officer that I strive to be; strong, confident, and fearless.”
The USS Hopper (DDG-70) is currently undergoing modernisation in Hawaii after leaving dry dock last year.