The US Navy has fired the commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center East in North Carolina due to a “loss of confidence in his ability to command.” The facility is responsible for overhauling the Navy’s variant of the next-generation F-35 fighter jet – which, although it is already the most expensive military project in history, has been plagued with flaws and requires upgrades to see out its lifespan.
Marine Corps Col. Thomas Atkinson was relieved on Friday and replaced by Capt. James Belmont, who was originally slated to assume command in May, a statement from the Navy reads. No further details were given to explain Atkinson’s firing.
Fleet Readiness Center East has a workforce of more than 4,000 sailors, Marines, and civilians, and is one of six facilities where Navy and Marine Corps aircraft are serviced and upgraded.