Capt. Paul Choate was relieved of command last Thursday by Rear Adm. Joseph Hornbuckle, the Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers. 

The Navy made the decision public late Wednesday. Choate was fired due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.

He was replaced by his Executive Officer, Capt. Richard Foster, who was set to take command in December. 

The Fleet Readiness Centers are part of Naval Aviation. It is headquartered at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, with a detachment in Norfolk. The center is charged with maintaining aircraft, including the F/A-18 Super Hornet. A 2020 General Accounting Office report cited the Navy for excessive maintenance delays throughout its aviation fleet. 

Originally from Vietnam, Choate enlisted in the Navy in 1986. Among his awards are a Bronze Star for his work in Iraq in 2006 to 2007. Choate has been reassigned to the headquarters for Fleet Readiness Center. 

The Navy release says “commanding officers are held to high standards of personal and professional conduct. They are expected to uphold the highest standards of responsibility, reliability and leadership, and the Navy holds them accountable when they fall short of those standards.”

The Navy often cites “loss of confidence” as the reason commanders are replaced.

So far in 2023, seven Navy commanders have been relieved, according to Navy Times.