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Nuclear Submarine Commander Removed
The Guardian (UK) ^ | 10-26-2007 | Chelsea J Carter

Posted on 10/25/2007 7:39:15 PM PDT by blam

Nuclear Submarine Commander Removed

Friday October 26, 2007 3:16 AM

By CHELSEA J. CARTER

Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The commanding officer of the nuclear-powered submarine USS Hampton was relieved of his duty Thursday because of a loss of confidence in his leadership, the Navy said.

Cmdr. Michael B. Portland was relieved of duty after a U.S. Navy investigation found the ship failed to do daily safety checks on its nuclear reactor for a month and falsified records to cover up the omission.

``His oversight of the crew's performance did not identify these issues'' on his own, Navy Lt. Alli Myrick, a public affairs officer, told The Associated Press. Portland's commanders identified the problems during a routine review, she said.

It appears from a preliminary investigation on the Hampton that sailors in Submarine Squadron 11 had skipped the required analysis of the chemical and radiological properties of the submarine's reactor for more than a month, even though a daily check is required.

The Hampton, a Los Angeles Class submarine assigned to Submarine Squadron Eleven, is the most advanced nuclear attack submarine in the world, carrying a torpedo, cruise missile, and mine-laying arsenal, according to information on the Navy's Web site. The submarine is docked in San Diego.

Portland's dismissal as commander is effective immediately. Myrick said Portland will be temporarily assigned to squadron duty and the Hampton will not conduct operations until the Navy can confirm the operational standards have been met. Myrick said at no time was the submarine conducting unsafe operations.

``He has not been charged with any offense nor has he received non-judicial punishment,'' Myrick said.

There was no phone listing for Portland in San Diego, and the Navy did not immediately respond to an AP interview request.

(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: badlink; commander; nuclear; removed; submarine; usn; usshampton
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1 posted on 10/25/2007 7:39:16 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

I saw that coming the day the story broke. In that biz, there is no second chances. Screw up once and you’re history.


2 posted on 10/25/2007 7:40:36 PM PDT by Ronin (Bushed out!!! Another tragic victim of BDS.)
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To: Ronin
By CHELSEA J. CARTER

Sorry, just reading that name sent chills down my spine...

3 posted on 10/25/2007 7:42:30 PM PDT by Philistone (If someone tells you it's for the children, he believes that YOU are a child.)
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To: blam

Dead link


4 posted on 10/25/2007 7:45:04 PM PDT by Pontiac (Your message here.)
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To: blam

Gee,one wonders why the Guardian,of all news sources,chose to feature this story.Can anyone help me out here?


5 posted on 10/25/2007 7:48:58 PM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Wanna see how bad it can get? Elect Hillary and find out.)
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To: Philistone
“CHELSEA J. CARTER
Sorry, just reading that name sent chills down my spine...”

Same thought, I need to google her to see her age!

6 posted on 10/25/2007 7:51:13 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto)
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran

Please let us know what you get!


7 posted on 10/25/2007 7:52:57 PM PDT by Philistone (If someone tells you it's for the children, he believes that YOU are a child.)
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To: blam
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-7025634,00.html
8 posted on 10/25/2007 7:53:57 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: Ronin

In many professions, it simply means that someone wanted him gone, and after looking for faults they finally nailed him on something that everyone does occasionally.

But I don’t know the nature of submarines. Perhaps he was a bad commander.


9 posted on 10/25/2007 7:56:56 PM PDT by SteveMcKing
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To: Philistone

Same here. Sounds like the worst of the worst.


10 posted on 10/25/2007 7:57:32 PM PDT by ChessExpert (Reagan dismantled the Russian empire of 21 conquered nations)
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To: blam; Doohickey; judicial meanz; submarinerswife; PogySailor; chasio649; gobucks; Bottom_Gun; ...

Steely-eyed Killers Ping.

Apparently they were radioing the nuke logs. Not career-enhancing at all.


11 posted on 10/25/2007 7:59:20 PM PDT by SmithL (I don't do Barf Alerts, you're old enough to read and decide for yourself)
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To: Ronin
"Screw up once and you’re history."

"Portland is the fourth commanding officer of a submarine to be relieved of duty this year. The other three, who were relieved for various unrelated actions, were: Cmdr. Edwin Ruff of the USS Minneapolis St. Paul, Cmdr. Matthew Weingart of the USS Newport News and Cmdr. William Schwalm of the USS Helena."

High risk command, for sure.

12 posted on 10/25/2007 8:00:46 PM PDT by M. Dodge Thomas (Opinion based on research by an eyewear firm, which surveyed 100 members of a speed dating club.)
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To: Philistone
Only one name listed and she was born in 1948 perfect age for an antiwar hippie!

We are not allowed to post any real information like address because of problems.

13 posted on 10/25/2007 8:05:10 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto)
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To: SmithL

“Apparently they were radioing the nuke logs.”
Is that anything like gun decking the logs?


14 posted on 10/25/2007 8:10:51 PM PDT by em2vn
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To: blam

The was a pretty easy call by the Navy on a very serious matter. Even though HAMPTON is a high-profile command, the same would have happened to any CO on any boat.


15 posted on 10/25/2007 8:10:54 PM PDT by Thrownatbirth (.....when the sidewalks are safe for the little guy.)
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To: SteveMcKing
My son was a submariner. He says a month of gaffing logs is not occasional. ...it simply means that someone wanted him gone... does not apply here. That is not the way things are done in The Navy.
16 posted on 10/25/2007 8:11:00 PM PDT by BykrBayb (In memory of my Friend T'wit, who taught me much. ~ )
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To: em2vn

Yeah, that’s a whole lot like gun-decking the logs.


17 posted on 10/25/2007 8:14:02 PM PDT by SmithL (I don't do Barf Alerts, you're old enough to read and decide for yourself)
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To: BykrBayb

Lucky for the sailors involved that Rickover’s not around anymore.


18 posted on 10/25/2007 8:16:15 PM PDT by SmithL (I don't do Barf Alerts, you're old enough to read and decide for yourself)
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To: blam

Hey Mike- I think it’s www.monster.com.


19 posted on 10/25/2007 8:28:55 PM PDT by matthew fuller (Crop-circles and UFO'S are caused by GLOBAL WARMING!)
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To: blam
The Hampton, a Los Angeles Class submarine assigned to Submarine Squadron Eleven, is the most advanced nuclear attack submarine in the world

No disrespect for the Hampton and its crew but my guess is that the crews of the Seawolf and Virginia-class boats would have a slight disagreement with that statement.
20 posted on 10/25/2007 8:33:13 PM PDT by tanknetter
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To: blam

The navy sure has had a run of poor officers the last couple of years, what is this about the fifth that has been relived of his command.


21 posted on 10/25/2007 8:38:03 PM PDT by org.whodat (What's the difference between a Democrat and a republican????)
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To: BykrBayb
Would seem that way to me too. Not sure of the structure of the chain on a sub, but there would be a Junior NCO, a Senior NCO and/or a Cheif PO along w/ a division officer and possibly an XO in line to have their heads handed to them for radioing a log of this magnitude. I can't imagine this went on for a month.

We had something mundane - a watch my div stood had to take soundings (water level checks) of various compartments. One night in port I found about a 10' shift over prior log entries. Turned out we had been through a stretch of bad weather, it had rained for many days and this was was done out on the bow so they just carried over prior entries. The guys who had the prior watches were sweating bullets but it blew over. This is different. An anphib is not going to have serious problems because of a few feet of water in the chain locker in port. On a nuke sub the crew ends up with empty coin purses etc. if the rads get out to play. Not good.

22 posted on 10/25/2007 8:38:28 PM PDT by 70times7 (Serving Free Republic's warped and obscure humor needs since 1999)
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To: blam
``He has not been charged with any offense nor has he received non-judicial punishment,'' Myrick said.

No need to rub salt into his wounds. His career is over. The navy wouldn't let him command a rowboat now.

23 posted on 10/25/2007 8:53:20 PM PDT by AlaskaErik (I served and protected my country for 31 years. Democrats spent that time trying to destroy it.)
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To: tanknetter
"WEAPON SYSTEMS The submarine is equipped with 12 vertical missile launch tubes and four 533mm torpedo tubes. The vertical launching system has the capacity to launch 16 Tomahawk Submarine-Launched Cruise Missiles (SLCM) in a single salvo. There is capacity for up to 26 Mk 48 ADCAP Mod 6 heavyweight torpedoes and sub harpoon anti-ship missiles to be fired from the 21in torpedo tubes. Mk 60 CAPTOR mines may also be fitted. "

The above is the description of the Virginia class weapon system. I believe that we have "limited" our abilities to build boomers with treaties. I believe that the Los Angeles class may in fact be the biggest and baddest. But I'm definately not an expert.

24 posted on 10/25/2007 8:55:13 PM PDT by matthew fuller (Crop-circles and UFO'S are caused by GLOBAL WARMING!)
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To: blam

The Nuclear Navy has the most unforgiving standards in safety and technical proficiency. I’m only surprised that they’re not bringing him up on UCMJ charges.


25 posted on 10/25/2007 8:55:44 PM PDT by DesScorp
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To: DesScorp; SmithL; Doohickey; CholeraJoe; AFPhys
True, this part (relieving the CO) was coming ever since the story first broke.

You can’t really bring the CO up on NJP/UCMJ charges - unless he knew about or covered up the false logs. Not knowing about falsified logs isn’t a court martial offense, after all, the logs were being faked to hide an offense. The ELT’s were the ones guilty.

The LPO, MPA, Eng should have seen it the first (or second) day: if this were reactor water samples (and the writer is either not able to tell us, or doesn’t know enough to tell the difference between SG water CL samples and primary water samples!) the EOOW and EWS will have noted the lineup changes.

HIS job was to make sure it didn’t happen - rather, to make sure that the logs AND (more importantly!) the daily reactor water samples WERE TAKEN and taken safely and the reactor was operated safely.

26 posted on 10/25/2007 9:45:31 PM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: blam
Cmdr Portland. Hmm. I had an XO was was Lcdr Portland. Probably the same guy.

It appears from a preliminary investigation on the Hampton that sailors in Submarine Squadron 11 had skipped the required analysis of the chemical and radiological properties of the submarine's reactor for more than a month, even though a daily check is required.

It is always the radcon! People who aren't Navy Nukes probably won't understand this but radcon (radiological controls) is one of the most tedious jobs on a nuclear reactor. Probably half of the Navy Nukes who have been to Captain's Mast (UCMJ Art 15) have been there due to falsified radcon logs. I remember 2 in my last two years at my old command--and one would have made Chief but was busted down to E-5 (and would have been denuked if his record wasn't spotless)!

The problem with reactor chemistry and radcon logs is that even though the job is tedious, if you start to make something up and aren't extremely smart about it, the logs will always give you away. Always. On my old boat those logs were reviewed over and over again before giving them to the CO to review just to make sure that some dumb ELT (Engineering Laboratory Technician--Navy Nuke who does Radcon work) didn't screw something up. Reading those logs and looking for discrepancies was about as much fun as watching paint dry, but without the fun fumes to distract you.

And if the CO doesn't catch errors in radcon logs, the Squadron will always put their nose in and check things out and the ORSE board, Naval Reactors Inspectors, and the Shipyards. Those logs that a tired ELT scribbles down at O'dark thirty will probably be reviewed by 10-15 people eventually. Someone will eventually find the error. I don't think even reactor operation logs are reviewed as religiously.

27 posted on 10/25/2007 9:48:16 PM PDT by burzum (None shall see me, though my battlecry may give me away -Minsc)
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To: burzum
"It is always the radcon! "

We didn't have radcon problems on my boat.

28 posted on 10/25/2007 9:58:39 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

8<)


29 posted on 10/25/2007 10:07:02 PM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: burzum

Programs have been made to overcome that. Input what you want the numbers to be and it will output the raw data you need.


30 posted on 10/25/2007 10:11:28 PM PDT by SShultz460
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To: org.whodat

The Navy has tremendous personnel. The buck stops somewhere. The USAF used to turn & burn Wing Commanders at a fair clip - lose an aircraft(non-combat), let alone a couple, you’re toast. Career not necessarily over, but more often than not.

Navy tolerance is zero. Touch bottom for a second, it’s to the Navy Annex and out.


31 posted on 10/25/2007 10:24:17 PM PDT by jblair (Air Force Brat)
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To: jblair
" Navy tolerance is zero. Touch bottom for a second, it’s to the Navy Annex and out. "

What's that old joke? Florida trailer parks are littered with retired navy Captains that found a new uncharted reef?

32 posted on 10/26/2007 12:38:58 AM PDT by investigateworld ( Abortion stops a beating heart.)
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To: tanknetter
Seawolf and Virginia-class boats would have a slight disagreement with that statement.

Los Angeles Class 688Is are still the lead class for sub modernization efforts. They get the cool stuff first.
33 posted on 10/26/2007 3:17:37 AM PDT by Thrownatbirth (.....when the sidewalks are safe for the little guy.)
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To: burzum
Seven years as NRRO before my retirement and you pretty much nailed it. While the ELT will also be held accountable, the COC also takes the hit for not catching it in the log reviews. If this was caught at the end of the deployment, it means they were blowing off the samples underway. It also means they proably got caught by the ORSE team.
34 posted on 10/26/2007 3:50:10 AM PDT by Sursam Abordine
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To: blam

I used to repair Squadron 11 boats on USS McKee. USS Hampton was commissioned about 2 weeks before I left active duty.

I’ve seen a few unplanned and quiet change of command ceremonies for the boats. As dangerous as sub duty is to all aboard, the captain’s career is probably most at risk.


35 posted on 10/26/2007 4:37:50 AM PDT by EricT. (The tree of liberty needs to be watered...)
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To: blam
It appears from a preliminary investigation on the Hampton that sailors in Submarine Squadron 11 had skipped the required analysis of the chemical and radiological properties of the submarine's reactor for more than a month, even though a daily check is required.

When I first read this story, I was amazed that it sounded like the entire ELT (RC Div ?) group was in on this. I could see one guy trying to radio the logs, but the whole division? Was the Div-O relieved as well?

36 posted on 10/26/2007 4:58:40 AM PDT by PogySailor (Murtha'd: To be attacked by a corrupt politician for doing your job.)
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE

RADCON, special weapons, CMS, SUBSAFE, nav charts.

If you want to seriously reduce the shelf-life of your Navy career, go right ahead grape off the paperwork. If there was any justice in the world, the offenders would find themselves standing midwatches topside in Groton.


37 posted on 10/26/2007 5:07:14 AM PDT by Doohickey (Giuliani: Brokeback Republican)
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To: Sursam Abordine
Seven years as NRRO before my retirement and you pretty much nailed it. While the ELT will also be held accountable, the COC also takes the hit for not catching it in the log reviews. If this was caught at the end of the deployment, it means they were blowing off the samples underway. It also means they proably got caught by the ORSE team.

If they caught something like this on an ORSE then they probably lost their "reactor keys" underway and had to return to port on the diesel. Ouch! In any case, I would not want to be in the Engineering Department of that ship right now. Their lives are going to be hell for the next year or two. I don't feel that bad for them though. Every EOOW, EWS, EDO, and EDPO had to know what was going on or at least suspected that the logs weren't being maintained. I don't think they were necessarily complicit, but I do think they probably had the attitude that they didn't want to know.

Let's just say that Naval Reactors isn't going to be happy that there is now an international news story that says that the crew "failed to do daily safety checks on its nuclear reactor for a month and falsified records to cover up the omission." Nope, Adm. Donald will probably not be amused.

38 posted on 10/26/2007 7:33:16 AM PDT by burzum (None shall see me, though my battlecry may give me away -Minsc)
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To: investigateworld; jblair

Navigation by Braille is also not considered career-enhancing.


39 posted on 10/26/2007 7:38:35 AM PDT by SmithL (I don't do Barf Alerts, you're old enough to read and decide for yourself)
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To: blam
Blowing off the primaries for OVER A MONTH?

Damn, I knew ELT's were shady, but JEEZ!!!!
40 posted on 10/26/2007 8:02:10 AM PDT by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: Ronin

Yep.


41 posted on 10/26/2007 8:03:04 AM PDT by Badeye ('Ron Paul joined 88 Democrats.....")
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To: Badeye

Looks like they couldn’t avoid burning just the blueshirts this time. Lots of khakis going down with them.


42 posted on 10/26/2007 9:43:21 AM PDT by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: OCCASparky

‘Looks like they couldn’t avoid burning just the blueshirts this time. Lots of khakis going down with them.’

Any other issue, they could just nail the blues. Not when it involves nuke, in any capacity.

Rightly so. And as some of us know, the competition for this type of a command is unbelievably tough. Long line of replacements just waiting for a change of command, or the occasional implosion of a Naval Career...which this appears to be in spades.


43 posted on 10/26/2007 9:51:10 AM PDT by Badeye ('Ron Paul joined 88 Democrats.....")
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To: Thrownatbirth
The was a pretty easy call by the Navy on a very serious matter. Even though HAMPTON is a high-profile command, the same would have happened to any CO on any boat.

Glad the Navy got it right this time.

Many years ago... Aboard the tin can on which I served, I know that our CO (O-5), in whom we had a lot of confidence, was replaced by what many of us regarded to be a, um, less than inspiring leader (also an O-5).

The first CO? Bounced after making the next promotion.

The replacement? Currently a relatively famous three star Admiral.

Ugh.

44 posted on 10/26/2007 10:03:48 AM PDT by Impugn (I am standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.)
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To: blam

What were these guys doing for the month? We are not at war requiring the use of a submarine. Were the crew just crusing around playing cards while on duty? How hard is it to just do the job you were hired to do?


45 posted on 10/26/2007 10:12:12 AM PDT by LetsRok
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To: Impugn
The first CO? Bounced after making the next promotion.

Don't get me started.

Seeing "CO" and "bounced" so close together reminds me of electric floor buffers and the 'Officer's Country' passageway.

I need my aol icons. :-(
46 posted on 10/26/2007 12:25:35 PM PDT by Thrownatbirth (.....when the sidewalks are safe for the little guy.)
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran

Well hell, she’s been advising her dad on nuclear policy since the 70’s......


47 posted on 10/26/2007 12:26:49 PM PDT by Kozak (Anti Shahada: There is no god named Allah, and Muhammed is a false prophet)
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To: Kozak
Yes, I remember Jimmy saying I asked Amy “what we should do about atomic bombs?”.
48 posted on 10/26/2007 12:44:48 PM PDT by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto)
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To: Doohickey
If you want to seriously reduce the shelf-life of your Navy career, go right ahead grape off the paperwork. If there was any justice in the world, the offenders would find themselves standing midwatches topside in Groton, in the dead of winter.

There: fixed it for you! Heh heh, BTDT. (Not radioing logs - just topside at night on the froze-over Thames River. Now I remember why I'm glad to be in Tucson!)

49 posted on 10/26/2007 4:39:58 PM PDT by IonImplantGuru (I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!)
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To: burzum; Sursam Abordine; Doohickey
If they caught something like this on an ORSE then they probably lost their "reactor keys" underway and had to return to port on the diesel. Ouch! In any case, I would not want to be in the Engineering Department of that ship right now. Their lives are going to be hell for the next year or two. I don't feel that bad for them though. Every EOOW, EWS, EDO, and EDPO had to know what was going on or at least suspected that the logs weren't being maintained. I don't think they were necessarily complicit, but I do think they probably had the attitude that they didn't want to know.

Let's just say that Naval Reactors isn't going to be happy that there is now an international news story that says that the crew "failed to do daily safety checks on its nuclear reactor for a month and falsified records to cover up the omission." Nope, Adm. Donald will probably not be amused.

That's a fact, burzum. The last sentence of the news article is:
'Portland will be replaced by Cmdr. William J. Houston, who previously was assigned as a special assistant to the Director of the Naval Reactors.' [my emphasis added]

It appears that Adm Donald has put one of his right-hand men in charge as Hampton's scourge. I wouldn't want to be any crewman on that boat right now, much less a nuke.

Also, from other traffic I've seen, your supposition about the dirty deed being discovered during an ORSE is correct. (ORSE, for non sub types, is Operational Reactors Safeguard Examination. It is typically scheduled at the end of extended deployments.)

50 posted on 10/26/2007 5:00:45 PM PDT by IonImplantGuru (I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!)
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