CO relieved of duty just before ship’s deployment

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The hospital ship USNS Comfort will leave Naval Station Norfolk Wednesday for a humanitarian mission. The commanding officer of the ship’s medical team, however, won’t be going.

The Navy said it lost confidence in Captain Rachel Haltner’s ability to command, after an investigation into the command climate. She was relived of her duty on Monday and the ship’s executive officer has temporarily taken over.

During the mission, the Comfort will visit 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean over the next five months.

Haltner has been in command of the Comfort’s medical team since August 2013. She has been temporarily reassigned to Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth.

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