Navy Cmdr. Frank Azzarello was relieved of his duty as commanding officer of a destroyer in January
A fired Navy commander’s abusive language and insults towards his subordinates ‘crossed professional lines and constituted harassment,’ a recently released command investigation found.
Commander Frank Azzarello, who was relieved of his command of the Navy destroyer USS Forrest Sherman in January, routinely referred to his junior officers as ‘f–king retarded,’ ‘useless’ and ‘stupid,’ according to an investigation that was reported by
‘One second he may be asking about your family, and the next time he will be telling you that he hates the sound of your voice, that you’re f–king retarded, or threatening an LOI [letter of instruction] for calling him too many times for mandatory reports while he’s getting a haircut,’ one crew member said in the investigation, according to Task and Purpose.
‘The more stress he was under and less sleep he got the worse it was.’
On at least one occasion, the verbal abuse nearly became violent when Azzarello raised his hand to a junior officer but didn’t follow through, Task and Purpose reported.
Azzarello’s lawyer Timothy Parlatore disputed the investigation’s findings and accused officers aboard the USS Forrest Sherman of ‘making up stories,’ Task and Purpose reported. Azzarello’s age is unclear; it wasn’t disclosed in the report.
Azzarello degraded his subordinates during his command of the USS Forrest Sherman, according to a recent report
Azzarello (right) took command of the USS Forrest Sherman in September 2019
‘At times though he seemed to just want to break people down and see how far he could push people before they would break,’ an officer said, according toTask and Purpose. ‘Once he found that limit, he would walk that line.’
‘There were times where I felt sick walking to the bridge just because of my nerves on what I would be yelled at for today,’ the officer added.
‘His actions are rough but it can help shape you. Sometimes it would destroy people though. I’ve seen several JOs [junior officers] break down and almost give up. Some people get it worse than others on the ship or just because of his mood that day.’
The command investigation was also reported by the
Azzarello, who took command of the USS Forrest Sherman in September 2019, was reportedly relieved of his duty on January 27 for taking home a seized enemy rifle that he intended to turn into a trophy for his ship’s wardroom without following procedure.
That issue is not being disputed.
The USS Forrest Sherman, which Azzarello was a commanding officer of, is pictured hear in Norfolk, Virginia in 2019
A separate Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation said Azzarello did take home the weapon with the aim of turning it into a war trophy for his ship but failed to follow military guidelines, Azzarello’s lawyer Parlatore told the Navy Times.
The separate command investigation, which outlines the commanding officer’s behavior towards his junior officers, started a day earlier, according to the Navy Times.
Parlatore, told Task and Purpose that his client was relieved of his duty because of the rifle; not the ‘false allegations’ made in the command investigation.
He told Task and Purpose that Azzarello was tough on his subordinates because because they were ‘inadequately trained before the ship’s deployment.’
Azzarello ultimately accepted nonjudicial punishment for charges related to the war trophy and how he handled his crew, receiving a letter of reprimand in the process, Parlatore told Navy Times.