The Navy has relieved the commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center East at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, due to a “loss of confidence in his ability to command.”

Marine Corps Col. Thomas Atkinson, who took command in May 2021, was relieved Friday by Rear Adm. Joseph Hornbuckle, the commander of Fleet Readiness Centers, based out of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

“Capt. James Belmont, executive officer, has assumed responsibilities of command,” the Navy said in a statement Friday. “Belmont was previously scheduled to assume command in May.”

Atkinson will temporarily be assigned to Fleet Readiness Centers headquarters, the Navy said.

No additional details were immediately provided.

Fleet Readiness Center East is responsible for aircraft maintenance for the Navy and Marine Corps, and falls under Naval Air Systems Command.

Prior to becoming the commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center East, Atkinson served as the command’s executive officer starting in July 2019. He previously served tours with Marine Helicopter Squadron 1 with the White House Military Office, and as the commanding officer of Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific in Atsugi, Japan.

He was commissioned in 1996 following graduation from the University of Washington.

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