Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The Navy commander of the USS Pearl Harbor has been relieved of duty after the ship ran aground in the Persian Gulf, officials said Monday. Cmdr. Xavier F. Valverde was relieved of command over the weekend following a preliminary inquiry into the grounding of the ship, according to a statement released by Naval Surface Forces. Rear Admiral Kendall Card of the Navy's Expeditionary Strike Group Three said he lost confidence in Valverde's ability to command. The ship suffered what Navy officials called a "soft grounding" off the coast of Kuwait on July 21. "The ship was able to back off the suspected shoal under her own power," said David Hostetler, deputy public affairs officer for Naval Surface Forces in San Diego. There were no injuries or damage reported. The USS Pearl Harbor is 609 feet long and is in a class of ships known as an LSD, or landing dock ship, which is used to launch and transport amphibious vehicles and their crews to and from shore.
USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52)Because of Naval security, Hostetler could not comment on the current location of the ship. Pending the conclusion of a formal investigation, Valverde has been temporarily assigned to the staff of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. The Navy did not make Valverde available for comment, and there was no listing for an Xavier Valverde in the San Diego area. Capt. Mike Slotsky has assumed command of the USS Pearl Harbor, which is the first ship in the Navy to be named after the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The USS Pearl Harbor is home-ported in San Diego. It deployed in May. Valverde took command of the Pearl Harbor in November 2007. Valverde served as the first lieutenant of the ship when it was commissioned in 1998. He enlisted in the Navy in 1982 and was a machinist's mate until being commissioned as an officer in 1990, according to a report by The Navy Times. Valverde's age and hometown were not released by the Navy.