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What's the Navy's priority — petty rules, or preparing to fight?

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On Jan. 27 the U.S. Navy relieved Frank Azzarello, commanding officer of the guided missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman, of his post just days before his scheduled change of command. The timing and severity of the punishment call into question his superiors’ judgment. Commander Azzarello possesses an impressive operational record consistent with an admirable professional career.

Under Azzarello’s command, Forrest Sherman deployed to the Near East throughout 2019 and 2020 and was a highly effective maritime interdictor. Most notably, in November 2019, the ship’s crew seized five Iranian-made 358 missiles, one of Iran’s most advanced weapons. The ship also interdicted various light weapons and smaller missiles, including the Iranian-produced Dehlavieh anti-tank missile, a weapon capable of penetrating the armor on American Abrams and Israeli Merkava battle tanks.

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