Naval Academy Superintendent John R. Ryan has relieved the school's deputy commandant of midshipmen from duty after an incident involving alcohol on the academy grounds early Saturday.
The officer, Col. Norman "Dutch" Schlaich, a 28-year Marine veteran, was responsible for administering discipline to students, including evaluating alcohol-related offenses.
Cmdr. Bill Spann, academy spokesman, declined to comment on the specifics of the incident or whether other individuals were involved, but he said Schlaich's dismissal was the result of a "single incident" involving alcohol and did not involve other misconduct.
A source familiar with the incident said Schlaich was intoxicated and walking to his home on academy grounds, possibly aided by several midshipmen. It was unclear whether the Mids may face disciplinary charges.
Spann called the incident "highly regrettable," but said that the superintendent had little choice but to fire Schlaich.
"Vice Admiral Ryan has nothing but the highest respect for this officer," Spann said. "Unfortunately he suffered a single lapse in judgment last weekend as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.
"There was no recourse but to relieve him of his duties," he said. "The Naval Service requires a higher standard of personal behavior."
The deputy commandant's position is considered a highly visible one with potential for future reward. Two of Schlaich's predecessors became Marine Corps generals.
Schlaich, who had been at the academy for three years, was well-liked by students and enthusiastic about military service.
Spann echoed those sentiments, saying "the colonel is a man of great character and a true leader."
Academy officials said Schlaich was reassigned to Marine Corps headquarters in Washington this week.
Ryan replaced Schlaich with Navy Capt. Bruce Bole, who was previously commanding officer of the 3rd battalion of about 120 midshipmen. Schlaich is the first high-ranking officer to be relieved of duty at the academy in many years.