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Warship's Commanding Officer Requests to Be Relieved of Duty Due to 'Issue'

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    Navy Public Affairs Support Elem
    SAN DIEGO (Mar. 1, 2016) – Cmdr. Sarah H. De Groot, commanding officer of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47), salutes side boys during a change of command ceremony. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gerald Dudley Reynolds/Released)

    The commanding officer of USS Rushmore requested to be relieved of duty on Nov. 21 and has since left her command. 

    Commander Sarah De Groot, a Long Beach native, lead the dock landing ship for two years. Prior to assuming command, she reported to the ship as an executive officer in June 2014. 

    It is unclear why De Groot requested to be relieved of duty. De Groot declined to comment on the move to NBC 7 San Diego, saying she did not want to disclose the "issue" at this time. 

    “Sorry, I cannot comment on anything at this time," she told NBC 7 San Diego over the phone. "I will refer you to the public affairs office.”

    When reached for comment, Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Naval Surface Force Pacific, Doug Sayers, gave NBC 7 this statement over the phone, in part: 

    “The commanding officer of USS Rushmore (LSD 47) Commander Sarah De Groot requested to be relieved November 21."

    Commander DeWayne Sanders will be the interim commanding officer of the ship for the time being, Sayers said.

    It is rare for a commanding officer to resign and walk off the job, The Navy Times reported, an option most other service members do not have without serious repercussions. 

    De Groot served on board USS Pearl Harbor and USS Constellation, supporting the initial phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to the U.S. Navy. She commissioned after she graduated from Texas A&M in 1998. 

    She has been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (five awards) and the Meritorious Service Medal, according to the U.S. Navy. 

    No other information was immediately available.