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.
Navy officials told Fox News that the reason Kins was relieved was due to his refusal to get tested since he was unvaccinated, not simply because he is unvaccinated.
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.
“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.”
Prior to the decision by Navy officials, Kins was on track to become the destroyer’s commander within the next year and a half.
The ship is currently in a scheduled 14-month maintenance period and is stationed in Mayport, Fla.