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.Here's the latest news on the investigation into what went wrong from Stars and Stripes.
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.
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.