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Commander of Va.-based Navy dive unit removed

Wednesday - 5/8/2013, 7:09pm  ET

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) -- The commander of a Virginia-based Navy dive unit has been reassigned after two divers drowned.

Navy spokesman Lt. Nathan Potter said Wednesday that Cmdr. Michael Runkle was removed as commander of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command. Runkle has been reassigned to the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.

Potter says actions were taken in January to address morale and leadership deficiencies in Runkle's command. Then on Feb. 26, two members of the unit drowned at an underwater weapons-testing facility at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. That prompted an investigation that revealed continuing problems, including safety concerns, leading to Runkle's removal.

Two members of the dive unit face military charges of involuntary manslaughter and dereliction of duty in the drowning deaths.


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