Commander Sarah DeGroot, pictured, asked to be relieved of her command of the USS Rushmore earlier this week
A high-flying female naval officer commanding a warship with 420 sailors has mysteriously resigned from her post, possibly ending her distinguished military career.
Commander Sarah DeGroot took over the USS Rushmore in March as it went into maintenance at its home port of San Diego.
The 42-year-old naval officer has so far refused to comment on her decision to ask to be replaced as the Dock Landing Ship’s skipper.
According to Navy Times, it is highly unusual for a navy commander to request to be relieved of command – and normally causes ‘serious repercussions, signalling the end of an officer’s career.
When contacted by Navy Times, DeGroot refused to give any reason for her decision to quit.
She said: ‘I don’t think I have anything to say at this time.’
However, Lieutenant Commander Rebecca Haggard sad there are no administrative or disciplinary actions pending against the former commanding officer at this time.
The rank of Commander is a senior role in the US Navy, below only the ranks of Captain and Admiral.
Earlier this year, the vessel, which is a dock landing ship, celebrated 25 years since it was commissioned.
Speaking at the time, DeGroot said: ‘It’s an honor to serve aboard Rushmore and I’m proud of all the ship has accomplished. Our success during the maintenance availability thus far will ensure the ship will have many more successes to come.’
The USS Rushmore, which was commissioned in 1991, is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance at its home port of San Diego and will return to sea early next year
The vessel went into maintenance in San Diego in March and is expected to resume crew training early next year before rejoining the fleet on active service.
During its first deployment, the vessel landed US Marines on the beach in Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope.
According to her official navy profile, DeGroot was born in Long Beach, California and received her commission in 1998 from Texas A&M, Galveston Maritime Academy with a Bachelor of Sciences in Marine Biology and Marine Transportation.
She served on board the USS Pearl Harbor, USS Constellation and finally the USS Rushmore.
On land she has been the flag secretary for Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic.
MailOnline has contacted the USS Rushmore for comment.