Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Temporary Reassignment - Navy Relieves ELEVENTH Commanding Officer in 2011

In an unusual move, the Navy has temporarily reassigned Rear Admiral (Select) Gregory R. Thomas, Commanding Officer, Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNS).  Captain Thomas has been temporarily reassigned to  Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC while the Naval Inspector General looks into "command environment" issues.  ((It appears the Navy is giving him the benefit of the doubt at this point as his biography remains on the official Navy website of Navy Flag and civilian leadership.))

Captain Thomas assumed command of NNS in September 2010.

The investigation is scheduled to begin in June and is expected to take four to six weeks to complete.

Captain Thomas is the second commanding officer to be removed from the Portsmouth shipyard within the last year.  In June 2010, the Navy relieved Captain William C. Kiestler of command after a year on the job due to "loss of confidence" in his ability to command.  Captain Kiestler's firing stemmed from a series of events that affected the management and execution of work at the shipyard.

Rear Admiral Joseph Campbell, a former shipyard commander who had been working as head of the NAVSEA directorate for logistics, maintenance and industrial operations, reported to NNS on 23 May 2011  as the acting shipyard commander until the Navy Inspector General investigation is complete.

Navy Flag Officer Biography

Rear Admiral (Select) Gregory R. Thomas

Commander, Norfolk Naval Shipyard

Rear Admiral (Select) Gregory R. Thomas

A native of Portsmouth, Va., Rear Adm. (Select) Thomas was commissioned an ensign upon earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at the United States Naval Academy. He later went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, the Naval Engineer’s Degree and a Ph.D. in Hydrodynamics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Thomas served aboard USS San Juan (SSN 751), where he qualified in submarines and supported the delivery of the first improved Los Angeles-class submarine. He later served as repair officer aboard USS Frank Cable (AS 40) and as the first Virginia-class program manager’s representative at Northrop Grumman Newport News, while also serving as submarine project officer for Supervisor of Shipbuilding Newport News.

Ashore, Thomas served at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) as the design manager for the LSV-2 Cutthroat; as maintenance officer at Commander, Submarine Force, where he coordinated acceptance of the lead ships of two submarine classes, (USS Virginia (SSN 774) and USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23)), and as co-chair Submarine Team One; and, later served as operations officer at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Thomas served as commander of the historic Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard from June 2007 to September 2010; during his tour the shipyard was awarded the Robert T. Mason Award for being the top Department of Defense depot maintenance activity in 2010, the first NAVSEA activity to win this award.

His personal awards include the NAVSEA Association of Scientists and Engineers Professional Achievement Award, Legion of Merit (2 awards), Meritorious Service Medal (4 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4 awards) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.


William said...

I am sooooo happy to hear this ... The "Admiral" leads by intimidation not example ... He is in competition with his brothers (all academy grads) ... He dropped the morale at PHNSY a lot ... I think he did the same thing at NNS but the word was out on him so the workers did something about it ...

Lance said...

I liked having Captain Thomas as the shipyard commander at Pearl. People just don't like giving change a chance. Capt. Thomas was smart, always around talking to the workers, and showed his love for the shipyard (he would even pick up any cigarette buds he would find on the ground and dispose of them properly.. As long as you were working, wearing proper PPE, and following the rules he would treat you fairly. He even (though he wanted to shake my hand) bumped knuckles with me one day cause my hands were dirty. I, along with my gang, respect Capt.
Thomas for his dedication to Pearl Harbor.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Rear Adm Greg Thomas onboard the Frank Cable following 9-11, returning to active duty to do my part in fighting an enemy that attacked America. He was a CDR. then and was hard but fair. He was focused on the job and exspected his crew to know their jobs and go by the book. He would go to the work site and spot check performance and quality, and commend sailors for a good job, while chewing butt for anyone caught taking short cuts. He was the man to make sure our NUC's came back. I hand run in's with him as a Chief in his R-5 Division but he was always fair, let me do my job, and gave me an oppertunity to be part of taking the fight to enemies of America. Just like there are SEAL's that protect us in the night - men like Rear Adm Thomas protect our shores from the depths of the oceans.

Anonymous said...

Worked with him as well on the Frank Cable.. A complete hard-ass and sometimes irrational but totally dedicated to the Navy as far I could see.

His work ethic stands out in my head to this day. The pace of it could be too overbearing for many to handle. I don't believe he's in the Naval business build any friendships... with that, I hope he pulls off the Win!

Patrick said...

I worked with Captain/Admiral Thomas at pearl and I thought he is on the right track. While at Pearl he upset a lot of people because he expected people to do their best,to take ownership, and above all, respect for the Navy Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. You will notice the folks that would always pass the buck were the only ones who did not like his leadership. I feel honored that I was able to be part of the changes that he spearheaded.
I hope that the investigation is quick and proves his integrity is topnotch.

Anonymous said...

I too worked for then CDR Thomas while he was the Repair Officer on As-40. He is a brilliant man but his downfall has finally caught up with him and that his downfall is that he is a terrible people person. I can go on and on about some of the crazy things he did while on the Cable but I will let dead dogs lie. I just never thought he would be in Command of so many people. My personal opinion is that he should have been placed in a think tank and use his brilliance to come up with great solutions to big problems. As a deck plate leader I would have never unleashed his style of leadership on anyone else in the Navy.

Mark L said...

I worked for Captain Thomas on the Frank Cable. Smartest man I ever met. The fairest leader I ever worked for. He expected alot from his Officers and Chiefs. What is wrong with that? We all had a job to do. As long as you did your best he would always respect you. After a junior shipmate went missing because he took shortcuts on a PMS check, then CDR Thomas beat himself up wondering if he did the right thing by chastising the young man. Guess what. What if that kid took shortcuts on fixing a sub and the sub was lost. He was hard but fair. I would be proud to serve with him anywhere! I do not know what happened in Portsmouth VA but I suspect there were just alot of lazy workers expected to do their job right.

Anonymous said...

This is a travisty. Thomas is harder on himself than he is on anyone else. The folks who didn't like him, including his OPS boss simply didn't understand that hard work is an imperative in the shipyard.

Randy said...

Although I was not one of his Department Heads at Pearl, I did report directly as one of the LO program managers. I don't think I learned more from any other leader in 28 years of active service and 10 years as a fed civilian. As many have said, he is the smartest guy I ever worked for. He also was one of the most energetic. I don't know anyone at the SY who could keep up with him. As for his people skills, I agree that he did not spend a lot of time with small talk as he was all business. I had weekly accountability meetings with Capt. Thomas and I almost never met his expectations. That being said, he would always provide help when and where needed. He was always very clear on what kind of job he expected and I heard a lot of people say they didn't like him and those were the people I knew for a fact that were ones that didn't want to work hard to improve themselves or the Shipyard. I don't know what this IG issue is over but I surmise it is from a a group of folks that just wanted things to stay the way they were. We can'f afford status quo in today's fiscal and world environment. I trust Greg will be seen as a top-notch Commander because he is sure to have all his ducks in a row and will be able to prove it.

Anonymous said...

RDML Thomas' problem is that he did ALL that the Navy asked of him. Do that and you can expect the Navy to crap all over you. He gave the Navy everything he had, and then some more. Your reward, sir? You are FIRED!

patrick said...

Does anyone know what the results of the investigation?