Commander, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 2, Capt. Timothy Rudderow, relieved Cmdr. Michael Runkle of his duties May 8 as commanding officer, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2, Virginia Beach, Va.
Runkle was relieved due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.
Capt. Dan Shultz, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) Assistant Chief of Staff for Strategy and Technology (N9), will assume command of MDSU 2 until Runkle’s permanent relief is identified. Shultz formerly served as commanding officer of MDSU 2.
EODGRU 2 learned of MDSU 2 command climate concerns in January 2013 after discussions with MDSU 2 members. As a result of those discussions, a command climate survey was ordered in January. The MDSU 2 command climate survey confirmed morale issues and a lack of leadership involvement. Based on those results, EODGRU 2 took administrative actions to correct the identified deficiencies.
As a result of a diving accident in February in which two Sailors drowned, EODGRU 2 convened a command investigation. That investigation brought to light continued command climate weaknesses. Additionally, the investigation revealed safety concerns that were not previously known. The safety issues identified in the EODGRU 2 command investigation were contributing factors in the decision to relieve Runkle.
MDSU 2 is an expeditionary mobile unit homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base, Little Creek-Ft. Story in Virginia Beach, Va. and has conducted salvage operations to support TWA Flight 800, Swiss Air Flight 111, the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minnesota, the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor, and recovery of a downed F-16 Fighting Falcon off the coast of Italy.
Press Release, May 9, 2013; Image: MDSU