One of the Navy's highest-ranking admirals has asked to retire after being disciplined for alleged personal misconduct while stationed in Italy, according to the Navy and defense sources.

Vice Adm. Kendall E. Moranville, until Aug. 20 the commander of the Navy's 6th Fleet, "was taken to admiral's mast" on Aug. 19, said Capt. Brent Baker, a Navy spokesman."Admiral Moranville was given a punitive letter of reprimand at admiral's mast," Baker said. "The action is presently under review. Vice Adm. Moranville has requested retirement."

Baker, noting that the results of the disciplinary hearing were being reviewed by Adm. Carlisle A.H. Trost, chief of naval operations, refused to discuss the nature of the alleged misconduct beyond saying it involved "several alleged improprieties."

Asked about statements by other defense sources that the allegations included adultery, Baker would only say the allegations "had no connection with Vice Adm. Moranville's operational responsibilities as commander, 6th Fleet." The 6th Fleet is headquartered in Naples, Italy.

"In fact, he continued to do an outstanding job as commander, 6th Fleet, until relieved on Aug. 20," Baker said. "But in recognition of Vice Adm. Moranville's rights in the matter, it would be inappropriate to discuss the matter further."