Navy ousts USS Ohio commanding officer

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The Navy fired the commanding officer of the guided-missile submarine Ohio’s gold crew on Monday.

The service said it removed Capt. Kurt Balagna, who has served as the commanding officer of the vessel since at least 2021, due to a “loss of confidence in his ability to command.”

The Navy provides such boilerplate when announcing every CO relief and provided not further details to Navy Times for Balagna’s removal.

Capt. Andrew Cain is now stepping in to lead the submarine, the Navy said.

“Navy commanding officers are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct,” the Navy said in a news release Wednesday. “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.”

The Ohio is based out of Bangor, Washington.

Balagna previously served as the commanding officer of the fast attack submarine Annapolis and the executive officer of the fast attack submarine Virginia, according to his Navy biography.

He is at least the third commanding officer the Navy has relieved this year. The Navy removed the commanding officer of the Japan-based destroyer Howard in February, and the commanding officer of the guided-missile submarine Georgia in January.

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