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Top US Navy leader resigns amid misconduct probe

Posted June 21, 2018 4:23 p.m. EDT

— The US Navy's top enlisted leader announced Thursday he is resigning "to avoid any distraction," as an inspector general investigates allegations that he "fostered a hostile work environment."

In a letter posted to the US Navy Facebook page, Master Chief Petty Officer Steven Giordano informed sailors that he will "step aside" and submit a retirement request "in order to allow ... our sailors to continue to move forward with the initiatives we have begun."

"The success of our Navy is not about one person or one individual, but rather the collective fighting spirit that has defined us over the last 242 years. It has been an honor to have been part of that team," the letter said.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said in a separate statement posted to Facebook: "I have accepted Master Chief Giordano's offer to step aside ... effective immediately."

"I appreciate his recognition that the situation had become untenable ... not we need to move forward -- together -- as a Navy striving with all our energy to become a more lethal fighting force," the statement said.

The Navy's inspector general opened a probe into allegations that Giordano was verbally abusive to members of his staff at the Pentagon and claims he pushed sailors who worked with him to perform personal tasks outside the scope of their job duties, according to a report by The Navy Times last week.

The complaint was filed by members of his own staff, The Navy Times said. Sailors said Giordano's "ferocious temper" and "bullying leadership style" cultivated a toxic workplace environment.

On Tuesday, The Navy Times reported that Giordano had taken a leave of absence, noting Navy officials would not indicate whether that decision was made based on his own request or on an order from the service.

The Master Chief Petty Officer, known by the acronym MCPON, "serves as the senior enlisted leader of the Navy, and as an adviser to the Chief of Naval Operations and to the Chief of Naval Personnel in matters dealing with enlisted personnel and their families," according to the Navy.

"The MCPON is also an adviser to the many boards dealing with enlisted personnel issues; is the enlisted representative of the Department of the Navy at special events; may be called upon to testify on enlisted personnel issues before Congress; and, maintains a liaison with enlisted spouse organizations," according to the service's the job description.

Giordano previously served as the Command Master Chief on board the USS McClusky and Fleet Master Chief for US Naval Forces Europe/US Naval Forces Africa.