Cmdr. David Ruhlig (center) assuming command of Coast Guard Station New York in July 2021. (photo by Daniel Henry/U.S. Coast Guard).

The U.S. Coast Guard removed the commander of Coast Guard Station New York this month, citing a “loss of confidence in his ability to fulfill the expectations of his positions,” according to a Coast Guard release.

Cmdr. David Ruhlig was fired from the head role at Station New York on June 3, the Coast Guard announced on Friday, June 14. He had been in charge of the service’s largest small boat station for three years. 

The Coast Guard, as with other service branches, often uses the term “loss of confidence” as a vague reason for why officers are removed from command roles. Reasons can vary, from direct actions in the command to outside matters such as driving while intoxicated. Ruhlig is one of several officers relieved of command this year. The Navy has had far more commanders fired, with 12 relieved of command this year. 

The news release did not say the root cause of Ruhlig’s firing, but the Coast Guard said it came after Rear Adm. John Mauger, the former commander of First Coast Guard District (which encompasses New York), recommended it. 

According to a Coast Guard statement shared to Military.com, Ruhlig was removed from command because he did not adequately respond to reports of harassment inside the unit. The Coast Guard has been dealing with ongoing scandals tied to harassment. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s sexual assault response coordinator recently left her role, saying that service officials were sabotaging how the school reported cases of sexual assault. 

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Ruhlig took over the command role at Coast Guard Station New York in July 2021. He has been with the Coast Guard for more than two decades. He was expected to leave the command later this year. 

Lt. Cmdr. Robert Garris was assigned as the interim commander of Station New York until a permanent replacement for Ruhlig is found. Station New York is the largest small boat station operated by the Coast Guard, with 140 people assigned to it (including the commander). 

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