USS Philippine Sea’s CO Relieved of Command After Fuel Spill

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The commanding officer of the cruiser USS Philippine Sea, Capt. Erica Hoffman, has been relieved of command following a diesel spill at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown earlier this month.

In a statement, Rear Adm. Richard Cheeseman, commander of Carrier Strike Group Two, said only that he had relieved Capt. Hoffman due to a loss of confidence in her ability to command. The Navy declined to link the personnel decision with the spill.

Hoffmann had served as the commanding officer of Philippine Sea since April 2019. Capt. Robert Thompson, assistant chief of staff for warfighting requirements at Naval Surface Force Atlantic, will serve as USS Philippine Sea’s commanding officer until a permanent CO is selected.

The spill involving USS Philippine Sea occurred May 7 while the vessel was moored for ammunition loading at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown. The majority of the fuel release was contained with booms, sorbent material and a vacuum truck. A response team comprised of Navy and Coast Guard personnel had the release 90 percent contained by that afternoon, Navy officials told USNI, and shoreline impact was minimal. The cause of the spill is under investigation. 

Capt. Hoffman is a Naval Academy graduate and an alumnus of Naval Nuclear Power Training Command. She began her career as a reactor mechanical division officer aboard USS George Washington during the carrier’s deployment for Operation Enduring Freedom in 2000. She later served as the operations officer aboard the destroyer USS Pinckney, the XO aboard the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts and the reactor officer aboard USS George H.W. Bush.