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Ex-Navy Region Hawaii head removed from San Diego job for allegedly viewing pornography

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / JUNE 2015

    The Navy said Rear Adm. Rick Williams was relieved of his duties by Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander of the U.S. Third Fleet in San Diego.

A rear admiral who used to be in charge of Navy Region Hawaii was removed Friday from his new job as commander of Carrier Strike Group 15 based on initial findings of an ongoing investigation into the alleged misuse of government computer equipment, the Navy said.

The Navy said Rear Adm. Rick Williams was relieved of his duties by Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander of the U.S. Third Fleet in San Diego.

Navy Times reported that Williams was removed following allegations he used his government computer to access pornography. The access was extensive enough to rule out accidental viewing, Navy Times said.

Asked about the allegation, Rear Adm. Dawn Cutler, the Navy’s chief spokeswoman, said today that “I can tell you it was not classified information.”

The military monitors government computer use for suspicious activity.

Williams, a native of Pittsford, N.Y., commanded Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific from 2013 through part of 2015. He assumed command of Carrier Strike Group 15 in July and was based in San Diego.

Williams was reassigned to the Third Fleet staff as a formal investigation continues. The Navy said enough information had come out in the initial phase to cause Tyson to take the action she did.

Carrier Strike Group 15’s mission is to train U.S. Pacific Fleet carrier strike groups, amphibious ready groups, and independently deploying surface ships prior to deployment.

Williams, who was a high-profile commander during his time in Hawaii, commanded the frigate USS McInerney from 2002 through 2004, earning the Battle “E” for excellence and the Department of Homeland Security Golden Eagle Award for successful counter-narcotic and maritime interdiction operations, according to his Navy biography.

Major command assignments included commanding Destroyer Squadron 26, and leading maritime security task groups in the Arabian Gulf from 2006 through 2008. Williams had a command role in directing maritime operations from 2008 to 2009 in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, his biography said.

A change of command was held June 26 at Pearl Harbor with Williams turning over command of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific to Rear Adm. John Fuller.

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