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Top doctor aboard Navy hospital ship Mercy relieved of command

Fitness

SAN DIEGO - The top doctor aboard the Navy's hospital ship Mercy has been relieved of command because of allegations that he falsified his physical fitness and weight records, the Navy announced Friday.

Capt. William Cogar, commanding officer of the hospital aboard the San Diego-based ship, was relieved by Rear Adm. Thomas Shannon, commander of the military sealift command.

Shannon took the action Friday after an investigation by the Navy's inspector general found "irregularities" in Cogar's records.

Cogar, 59, underwent an admiral's mast, a non-judicial punishment procedure.

During the mast, he was found to have negligently failed to comply with the Navy's physical readiness program, as well as failure to obey an order and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman, the Navy said.

Cogar was reassigned to Navy Medical Center San Diego. Capt. Jeffrey Paulson, a former commanding officer of the Mercy's hospital, was temporarily assigned to take Cogar's place.

The Mercy is one of two Navy hospital ships. In recent years it was deployed to the Western Pacific, with medical and dental specialists providing care for civilians in a variety of nations.

Cogar had taken command of the hospital, the Medical Treatment Facility, in March 2013.

The Navy has a requirement that all personnel meet certain fitness and weight standards, adjusted for age and height.

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tony.perry@latimes.com

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