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.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hampton crew allegedly radioed records

Six Navy personnel on board the nuclear-powered submarine USS Hampton have been punished for forging inspection records for the cooling system of the ship's nuclear reactor, Navy officials said Monday.
The crew neither maintained inspection records nor conducted the required inspection of the chemical levels associated with the cooling system, the Navy officials said. The crew then went back and falsified existing records to make it appear the work had been done, the officials added.

Let's do some nuclear translation...the ELTs apparently forged primary chemistry and it looks like it got caught during a pre-ORSE look by their new squadron.

Not a good day for the nukes. These guys will be under an intense microscope. And I'd read between the lines to say that the one officer and five enlisteds that were sent to NJP were likely the CRA and the bulk of the ELTs, and they are also likely to lose their nuclear NECs/designators.

This won't bode well for the skipper, either.

I once served aboard Hampton, though it was many, many years ago (1994, I think). I was a rider, on for only a couple of months for quals. Still, my past association with the Hampton is what made this article catch my eye.

Again, not a good day to be a nuke on the 767...

Friday, October 12, 2007

USS Hampton Loses Their Keys

It looks like the new submarine in San Diego, USS Hampton (SSN 767) is under investigation for "unspecified reasons" and has had their keys taken away. From Navy Times:
“During a routine review ... conduct of procedures, although found to be safe, fell short of high Navy standards,” Submarine Squadron 11 officials said in a release, provided by spokeswoman Lt. Alli Myrick.
Capt. Chip Jaenichen, squadron commander, ordered an investigation under the Judge Advocate General’s Manual, or JAGMan, after some “issues” surfaced while the submarine and squadron were preparing for a normal end-of-deployment examination, Myrick said.
The investigation was being done “to determine the extent of these issues,” officials said in the statement. “The Navy sets high standards of professionalism and takes those standards very seriously.”
Already, one officer and several enlisted sailors have received disciplinary action, Myrick said. No details were available late Friday.
The Navy spokesperson continued that the submarine was "not getting underway" until the investigation is completed.

More later as any news emerges...