Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Personal Thoughts on the SF Situation

Originally posted 2151 12 Feb:

Here's a link to a Navy Times article on the NJP for Captain Mooney that doesn't have any new information, but captures what has been in the other articles I've linked (including stuff in the article from The Day that will require registration starting tomorrow). It does have one mistake, though: It's description of a "moving haven" as "an underwater passageway thought to be free and clear of obstacles" is not accurate; however, a quick Google search for submarine "moving haven" didn't show anything that had a good unclassified description, so I guess I can't correct them here. If you'd like to see the messages from Admiral Sullivan referred to in the story, click here.

Personally, I've thought a lot today about the Navy's decision to punish CDR Mooney. The investigating team clearly went through all the boats procedures and records with a fine tooth comb, and apparently found some inconsistencies and practices not exactly in accordance with approved procedures. My unsolicited advice to the Submarine Force brass is to ask themselves: What percentage of the boats in the fleet, if subjected to a similar inspection, would have had similar deficiencies? I would suggest that if the number is greater than a few, they should reconsider whether or not they want to punish more of the crew (as was done in most recent accidents, including the Greeneville and Oklahoma City collisions and Hartford grounding*), or if they should concentrate more on solving a potentially force-wide problem. Of course, if they did that, they may have to admit that the current inspection teams, which work for the senior commanders, maybe hadn't been looking for the right things.

* I couldn't find a convenient link directly to the Hartford grounding NJP story, so I reproduce a portion of it from this link below (full story about 3/4 of the way down):

Skipper, Squadron Commander Relieved; Six Others Disciplined In Sub Grounding In The Mediterranean
By Robert A. Hamilton, New London Day 11/10/2003 (Used with permission)
The captain of the Groton-based USS Hartford and the squadron commander who was aboard the submarine when it grounded off Sardinia last month have been removed from duty after the admiral in charge of submarines in the Mediterranean "lost confidence in their ability to command," a Navy spokeswoman said. Six other Hartford crewmen were charged with dereliction of duty and punished over the weekend, including one officer and one enlisted man who were relieved of their duties and ordered back to Submarine Squadron Four at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton.
Cmdr. Christopher R. Van Metre, captain of the Hartford, and Capt. Greg Parker, commodore of Submarine Squadron 22, will also return to the United States, said Cmdr. Cate Mueller, a spokeswoman for the Sixth Fleet in Gaeta, Italy. "There is the possibility of follow-on actions involving both officers," Mueller said. They were relieved from command before any formal proceedings because the Group 8 commander, Rear Adm. P. Stephen Stanley, "no longer had confidence in their ability to command."

Staying at PD...

Update 0202 13 Feb: Here's the report on the Admiral's Mast from KUAM, a local Guam television station. This report includes some discussion of the on-going repair work, including this bit:

"...the Navy is planning to make temporary repairs to the bow of the San Francisco so she has adequate structural integrity and proper buoyancy for transit under her own power to a shipyard, which is yet to be determined, with comprehensive repair capabilities. These temporary repairs will be engineered to ensure a successful transit. As part of having on-hand materials for potential use in these temporary repairs, a large steel dome about 20' high and 20' in diameter will be arriving on Guam in the next few days."

I'm assuming this "large steel dome" is a metal sonar dome, of the type submarines used to use before they came up with the glass-reinforced plastic replacements. (If this link is bad, go to this page; the picture of the San Fran's shredded sonar dome is currently the 13th picture down.

Note: While looking for a better link to a GRP sonar dome than the link above, I stumbled across this USNI web page on Los Angeles Class submarines. It has a nice interactive display of a submarine, where if you roll your mouse over various parts of the boat, it shows you what's inside. A good resource for the non-submariner.

Update 2332 13 Feb: Fellow submariner Rob posts his thoughts on the San Francisco.


Post a Comment

<< Home