The Navy fired the commander of one of its ballistic missile submarines on Friday, the service announced in a statement Monday.
The commanding officer of the USS Alabama sub's blue crew — Cmdr. Michael Lyle — was relieved by Rear Adm. Nicholas Tilbrook, the commander of Submarine Group 9, “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” the Navy said.
Lyle has become at least the eighth Navy commander to be removed from command this year and the first ballistic missile submarine skipper to be publically relieved in recent history.
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The Navy's statement did not offer any more information about why Lyle was removed from leadership, outside of the usual remark that the service expects its commanders “to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, reliability and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable when they fall short of those standards.”
Senior officers of ballistic missile submarines like Lyle are subject to even further scrutiny since ships like the Alabama can carry up to 20 Trident II D5 ballistic missiles and they are considered a critical part of America's nuclear deterrent.