Growler commander relieved of his duties

The Navy cited a loss of confidence in Cmdr. Matthew McCormick’s ability to command.

The commander of a U.S. Navy EA-18G Growler squadron currently on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea has been relieved of his duties, the Navy reported June 8.

The Navy cited a loss of confidence in Cmdr. Matthew McCormick’s ability to command in removing him from his position in Electronic Attack Squadron 137, which is based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. He had been commanding officer of VAQ-137, known as the “Rooks,” since September 2021.

USNI News reported that an unnamed Navy official said McCormick was relieved due to inappropriate behavior and that the investigation is ongoing. He has been temporarily reassigned to Electronic Attack Wing Pacific at NAS Whidbey.

Cmdr. Scott Maynes, the executive officer of VAQ-137, will be the acting commanding officer until a permanent replacement is identified, the Navy reported.

The Navy said that the move will have no impact to the squadron’s mission or schedule.

In a typical year, the Navy fires about 40 leaders, according to Task & Purpose.

The squadron is deployed as part of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, which is in the Mediterranean as a deterrent against Russian aggression. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered the Truman to stay in the area in December to reassure European allies instead of moving on, as initially scheduled, Stars and Stripes reported.

“Since then, Truman has supported training and patrol flights from the Mediterranean, participated in naval exercises with NATO allies and partners and made port calls in Crete, Croatia and Italy,” the newspaper reported.

According to a Navy website, McCormick, an Anacortes resident, has a long history with electronic attack squadrons and participated in Operation Enduring Freedom. He accumulated 1,039 flight hours in EA-6B Prowlers, over 1,100 hours in Growlers and 457 carrier arrested landings, including 51 combat missions. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Strike/Flight Air Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals and two Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals.