Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

From The SUBVETS Groton Base

I was passed along this E-mail written by the Base Commander of the SUBVETS Groton Base regarding the loss of the two Sailors from the USS Minneapolis-St. Paul (SSN 708), and wanted to share it with you:
I'm sure that by now all of you have heard about the unfortunate accident onboard the USS MINNEAPOLIS ST PAUL (SSN 708) where two Shipmates were lost over the side. It was a very unfortunate accident. If you haven't heard of this tragedy there is lots of information all over the internet and there is no need for me to repeat any headlines here.
Many of us who worked topside have been in those same circumstances and it could have happened to any of us. It is up to us as SUBVETS to perpetuate their Memory. The two who were lost are the COB ETCS(SS) Tom Higgins, and STS2 Michael Holtz.
I have held off on sending an email about this waiting for word of any Memorial Services, but at present they are still just in the planning stages.
I personally passed on my condolences on behalf of SUBVETS Groton Base to Admiral Haney and SUBLANT Force Master Chief Dean Irwin.
When I hear word of the funerals I will pass that along so that if you are in the area you may attend.
ETCS Higgins was stationed in the Groton area for many years prior to his assignment on the MSP. He was known my many people as a Good Chief Petty Officer, and a good Shipmate. I had the pleasure of working with him on the Sailor of the Year program the last 3 years. I have received word that a local Memorial Service will be scheduled at some point down the road. As soon as I have any confirmed information on the date and time I will pass that along.

There is a port of no return where ships may lie at anchor for a little space. And then some starless night the cable slips leaving only an eddy at the mooring place. Gulls veer no longer. Sailor rest your oar. No tangled wreckage will be washed ashore.

Shipmates Higgins and Holtz . . . Rest your oar.
Here's the latest news on the investigation into what went wrong from Stars and Stripes.

Update 0809 05 Jan: Here's the latest article from The Navy Times. Also, Navy NewsStand has a couple of pictures (here and here) of a memorial service the MSP crew held in Rota, Spain, where they pulled in after leaving England.

Update 2342 05 Jan: Here's another update from Stars and Stripes; it lists what it says are all the cases of Sailors falling overboard from submarines in the last six years. It only lists one case of someone falling off a moored submarine, but my guess is the Navy only mentioned those were a safety report was filed.

Also, here's a really good article from the Guardian. While the writer doesn't capitalize COB (understandable, considering it's a Brit paper), he has some pretty good insights that make it worth a read.

6 Comments:

Anonymous A served XO said...

Bubblehead,
I have not yet seen, officially or unofficially any discussion of why the boat continued their transit.

With the COB and 3 others washed overboard, if you were the CO, wouldn't you turn around and return to Portsmouth?

It just strikes me as odd.

1/06/2007 11:19 AM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

I thinking that an orgy of ORM-related 2nd guessing erupted, both on board and at Group 8; something along the lines of "the weather's bad, and if we have an accident going back into port none of us will ever get promoted again".

1/06/2007 4:43 PM

 
Blogger Chap said...

I never saw Joe Ruff thinking like that in the past--when I knew him, he was a man of integrity and not a career-focused clod. He may have thought that "the weather's bad and we've just lost our bubble, better get in a safer condition so no more bad things happen", though.

I have seen fibrillating in that underway status though...9/11 was the usetafish's last day underway, or so we thought; we were going to pick the families up in the channel to the pier. I was glad I didn't erase the tracks too deeply on the chart, because our vector changed with each level of leadership on the red phone...

I don't know the details but that seems a little harsh for your usual estimate..what gives?

1/07/2007 1:04 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the boat did not return to Plymouth due to tidal conditions. You can only transit in or out twice a day. I am sure all on board felt it best to keep moving, rather than plow circles until the tides were right on the off chance the weather hadn't worsened.

1/10/2007 2:27 PM

 
Blogger Subsunk said...

So the COB was topside, leading as a good COB should have. I suspect they should have let the pilot off sooner despite being unfamiliar with the waters, but when is the last time SUBLANT told anyone to take that kind of chance of running aground without a pilot? The scales of risk seem pretty well balanced in this one.

A tragedy all around. Good Men lost. And a leadership case for difficult Command quals hits the books. We'll hear about this often enough. Anyone else feel like these two incidents (MSP-NN) are more indicative of bad luck than actual negligence than usual? Of course mistakes were made. Even Mush Morton and Dick O'Kane made mistakes. But it just seems like in these stories our Men had more on the ball than they had off it.

God bless the souls who go to sea in ships. And God bless the COBs who lead from the front.

Subsunk

1/14/2007 6:52 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 15 year vet, and during my service, did a lot of time topside. They way have changed design and procedures since I mustered out, but what happened to safety lines? I am now in telecommunications, and now use the same rules for tower climbers. Is the Navy getting lax on the basics?

2/07/2012 4:12 PM

 

Post a Comment

<< Home