Skip to comments.Subís top officers reprimanded in deaths
Posted on 01/17/2007 9:44:51 AM PST by mfnorman
NAPLES, Italy The commander and the former executive officer of the submarine USS Minneapolis-St. Paul received punitive letters of reprimand Tuesday, following a hearing on the fatal December incident in which two sailors were swept off the subs surface during bad weather, a Navy official said.
Rear Adm. Jeff Fowler, commander of Submarine Group 8, conducted five nonjudicial punishment hearings Tuesday related to the Dec. 29 incident and issued letters of reprimand for the top two officers, said Lt. Chris Servello, a spokesman with Naval Forces Europe/6th Fleet. Fowler dismissed charges against three other crewmembers: two officers and a chief petty officer, Servello said.
The subs commander, Cmdr. Edwin Ruff, took command of the Minneapolis-St. Paul in December 2004. Servello declined to name the former executive officer, citing privacy laws. Typically, information on nonjudicial punishment hearings is not released publicly. The former executive officer had been replaced because of a normal rotational cycle, not because of the incident.
(Excerpt) Read more at stripes.com ...
He may as well retire and apply for a job at Home Depot.
He can go work with Scott Waddell
Don't they have safety lines? Or did the sub go under while they up top?
They had safety lines, but were washed overboard by rough water. The sailors that were killed were held close to the boat, and were either drowned before they could be pulled out, or were battered against the hull by the waves.
According to the article all four had safety lines - two of them longer than the others.
The two that were on the shorter lines died. It's not clear what exactly happened - they may have become fouled in their own lines.
The two that survived had gone into the water but somehow were free of their lines and did not get tangled.
The boat did not submerge with crew topside.
I'm sure the captain is beating himself up over the loss of the men worse than anything the NJP could do.
I'm an Army guy so I don't understand Navy mentality sometimes. Can someone explain to me what the officer did wrong? Sounds to me like the crew were following safety procedures with having their safety lines.
I don't get it.
1) What did the CO and Exec do wrong?
1a) What, if anything, did the deceased sailors do wrong?
2) What should future COs and Execs do in order to avoid this sort of problem?
What would you have done, left the hatch unsecured?
Good point ... My questions above apply to that incident (and probably to a great many others) as well.
Your question is rational, but irrelevant.
Commanding Officers do not usually get to decide when to go to sea. You may safely assume that the USS Minneapolis St. Paul's departure was not the Captain's option.Submarining is still a hazardous profession, even for professional submariners.
A pilot is required within the harbor, but he cannot go to sea with the submarine. Therefore, he had to be let off the boat. Since he couldn't get off by himself, the crew had to help him.
If there were lapses in the safety precautions, someone should be punished, but I've not seen anything that indicates that there were any lapses.
1. The Capt will always be relieved when the death of a sailor occurs, or an accident.
2. If he is found guilty thru NJP, he can not then be charged with murder or some other crime under double jeopardy.
I remember, when as a prison guard (a prison chaser), they told me that if I shot one of the prisoners, I would be found guilty of something, fined $1, and given a carton of cigarettes. Probably was an urban legend, tho.
That's a statement of policy. It's not an answer to any of my questions.
was the sub's CO, on the 'outside',
when this happened?
It sounds like two of them had the safety lines set wrong, and the captain is held responsible for any dereliction by the crew that could be forseen and trained.
But it's speculation on my part based only on the information in the article.
"To: Al Gator ' Some one will lose a commission over this.'
Unless they dove while people were up top, I doubt it. Man Overboard should not kill careers. 9 posted on 12/29/2006 1:00:19 PM EST by xxxxxxx2000
You don't lose guys over the side like this and keep your job.
What did the CO and Exec do wrong? . ArrogantBustard
The crew was putting off the pilot. They were still involved in that when the sub cleared the breakwater and exposed the topside crew to the full force of the sea conditions that included 50 MPH winds and 20 foot swells.
The CO and the XO should have ensured that the pilot transfer was completed in a timely manner before the sub cleared the breakwater.
The articles I've read don't say much about the other vessel the pilot was being transfered to. Could the two sailors have been crushed between the two after falling overboard?