Friday, October 26, 2007

USS Hampton CO Relieved

Cross-posted from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

For the 4th time this year, an attack submarine CO has been relieved of command early -- but this one wasn't unexpected. From the AP wire report:
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...
...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...
...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.
[Links above are to my posts on the firings of those COs.] Navy Times has more on the "no band" relief (as opposed to one with a Navy band and nice uniforms, like this one), which includes the information that the new CO, CDR William Houston, had been already slated to relieve CDR Portland next month. (The AP article says that CDR Houston had previously been assigned as a "special assistant to the Director of the Naval Reactors", which probably means "Line Locker".)

So, with the CO, along the original ELTs who messed up, now off the boat, it'll be interesting to see if any intermediate levels of the boat's chain of command suffer any blowback.

Update 0858 26 Oct: From my referrer's log, a couple of other interesting sites are discussing this as well. Fark apparently has way more submariners posting there than I had realized, and head over to Corrente to see what happens when nukes invade a fairly popular blog run by liberals who try to address a technical submarine issue. (Sample quote about the attack submarine Hampton by a "progressive" at Corrente about why the incident happened: "Word got through the grapevine that a strike on Iran was in the works, and so they tried to scuttle the Boomer surreptitiously rather than be forced to murder hundreds of thousands of innocent people.")

By the way, if you head over to Corrente, please don't try to educate them about the chemical that "keeps the reactor shut down" and how it clearly doesn't apply in this case. The poster's husband was apparently a coner, and tried to remember something about nuke chemistry, but only succeeded in making himself look foolish.


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