The commander in charge of ten U.S. sailors who were detained by Iran in January 2016 was fired due to what the U.S. Navy termed as a ‘loss of confidence in his ability to command’.
Commander Eric Rasch who was commanding the Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 3 at the time of the incident was relieved of his duties May 12.
Capt. Gary Leigh, commander of the Coastal Riverine Group-1, made this decision following his review of a preliminary investigation into the incident near Farsi Island in the Arabian Gulf, Jan. 12-13, involving 10 CRS-3 Sailors.
To remind, ten marines travelling aboard two riverine craft were detained by members of the Iranian Coast Guard after they sailed into Iranian waters. According to a preliminary report, the sailors faced problems with both the communication equipment and mechanical issues with the boats they were using.
After they were captured, sailors aboard U.S. Navy cruiser USS Anzio received a communication from the Iranians that the RCB Sailors were in Iranian custody and were “safe and healthy.” The sailors were subsequently released after 16 hours of detainment.
The incident did not go unnoticed in international media as Iranian personnel held their U.S. counterparts at gunpoint and forced them to apologize for their actions on video, much to the disliking of U.S. diplomats.