A U.S. Navy commander has reportedly been relieved of duty as executive officer of a warship because he refused to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Cmdr. Lucian Kins was fired on Friday as the second in command of the USS Winston Churchill by Navy Capt. Ken Anderson, commander of the Naval Surface Squadron 14.


“On December 10, 2021, Commander, Naval Surface Squadron 14, Capt. Ken Anderson, relieved Cmdr. Lucian Kins as executive officer of USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) due to loss of confidence in Kins’ ability to perform his duties,” Lt. Cmdr. Jason Fischer said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. Kins refused the vaccine and COVID-19 testing, according to USNI News, which cited an anonymous Navy official.

Fischer could not comment on Kins’s vaccination status because it’s considered protected medical information though he said, he was relieved of duty “due to a loss of confidence after he failed to abide by a lawful order.”

Kins “will be reassigned to the staff of Naval Surface Squadron 14,” he added, noting that Lt. Cmdr. Han Yi will serve as interim executive officer.

The unvaccinated commander was denied a religious exemption and is appealing their decision, according to the Associated Press.

Kins is the first naval officer to be fired for vaccination refusal as each service branch finds its footing regarding disciplinary action for those who didn’t meet the requirement or obtain an exemption.


More than 96% of active-duty sailors were fully vaccinated ahead of the Navy’s Nov. 28 deadline, leaving roughly 1,700 personnel unvaccinated.

“We know there's more work to do, and there's some deadlines that haven't passed yet,” said spokesman John Kirby at Friday’s Pentagon briefing. “But the secretary's expectation is, because this is a mandatory military readiness requirement, that everybody's going to get it with the exception of those, of course, who are properly exempted from it.”