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Speaking to Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin, a senior US Navy official familiar with the situation said Commander Lucian Kins, the Arleigh Burke-class Navy ship’s number-two officer, refused to get vaccinated or tested.
A picture taken on March 8, 2013 shows the American destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill crossing the Suez canal off the coast of Ismailia port city, east of Cairo. (AFP via Getty Images)
Sources tell Fox News that Kins applied for a religious exemption, which was refused by the Navy, and that he later appealed that decision.
In a statement issued to Fox News, LCDR Jason S. Fischer, a Navy spokesman, claimed that Kins was relieved of duty “due to loss of confidence” in his ability to perform work duties.
In this Oct. 5, 2021, file photo a healthcare worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
“On December 10, 2021, Commander, Naval Surface Squadron 14, Capt. Ken Anderson, relieved Cmdr. Lucian Kins as executive officer of USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) due to loss of confidence in Kins’ ability to perform his duties,” Fischer said.
Fischer also noted that “Lt. Cmdr. Han Yi, the ship’s plans and tactics officer, is temporarily assigned as executive officer until a permanent relief is identified and that Kins will be “reassigned to the staff of Naval Surface Squadron 14.”
This picture taken on March 1, 2021, shows a view of the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) arriving in Port Sudan. (AFP via Getty Image)
Prior to the decision by Navy officials, Kins was on track to become the destroyer’s commander within the next year and a half.
In March, the USS Winston S. Churchill returned to Naval Station Norfolk after being deployed for nearly nine months and traveling more than 60,000 miles, according to Norfolk’s WTKR.