Navy Relieves USS Somerset’s Female Commanding Officer of Duty

( — The officer in command of the amphibious transport dock USS Somerset was relieved of her command last week, making her the third Somerset commander to be fired or disciplined.

According to a June 7 press release from the US Navy, on June 6, the Commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7, Rear Admiral Christopher Stone, relieved Capt. Michel Brandt as commander of the Somerset, citing a “loss of confidence in her ability to lead the crew.”

Brandt will be temporarily replaced by Capt. Tate Robinson, pending the assignment of a permanent commanding officer.

Capt. Brandt, who took command of the Somerset in July of last year, will be reassigned to Commander, Naval Surface Force, in the US Pacific Fleet.

The press release did not detail what led to the “loss of confidence,” only saying that commanding officers were “expected to uphold the highest standards,” and that the Navy would hold them “accountable” when those standards were not met.

Typically, the use of the term “loss of confidence” is a boilerplate explanation used when an officer is relieved. While news outlets could request further information on what led to the relief of command, it is a months-long process.

A Navy spokesperson said that so far in 2024, 12 commanding officers have been relieved.

While the reasons may vary, commanding officers could be relieved for anything from a non-work-related issue to having an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. At least three of the Navy commanding officers relieved in 2024 had been arrested by civilian police for driving under the influence.

Capt. Brandt was commissioned through Vanderbilt University’s Navy Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in 1998, according to the US Navy. In 2000, she became a surface warfare officer.

Brandt was deployed six times, including two deployments during Operation Enduring Freedom.

She has been awarded the Legion of Merit, four Navy Commendation Medals, three Defense Meritorious Service Medals, and three Navy Achievement Medals.

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