USS Hampton Investigation Report Released
Last fall, the Submarine Force was abuzz with discussion on the problems USS Hampton (SSN 767) had been having with nuclear integrity. Today, a heavily-redacted version of the official Command Investigation was published by the San Diego Union-Tribune today, and, as expected, laid a lot of the blame on the former CO. From the story:
Four officers and seven enlisted sailors have been disciplined as a result of the investigation, said spokeswoman Lt. Alli Myrick of Destroyer Squadron 11, the San Diego-based command that includes the Hampton. The squadron commander dismissed the submarine's commanding officer and chief engineer (sic)...Clearly, there were a lot of problems with the boat. Just as clearly, however, some of the problems mentioned in the Investigation are little more than "piling on"... things that you could find even among the most squared-away submarines (e.g. changing Fire Control solutions so you didn't have to report a contact). The majority of the report deals with Engingeering Department exams, especially qual exams. When I was Engineer, I was lucky enough in NewCon to have big classrooms where I could give proctored exams, and have exam banks from previous ships to give new exams out. Normally, though, it's just about impossible to give senior people requal exams that they haven't had a hand in preparing or reviewing; nevertheless, the report takes the boat to task for doing that.
...A wider investigation also revealed dozens of integrity violations aboard the submarine, according to the report released yesterday. An officer whose name is redacted from the report alleged that he and others had falsified test scores or received answers in advance for exams to certify various officers...
...“Commander Portland set unachievable standards for his crew, was intolerant of failure and publicly berated personnel,” wrote Rear Adm. Joe Walsh, commander of the Hawaii-based Pacific Submarine Force.
These and other leadership lapses, Walsh said, “directly contributed to problems identified in this investigation . . . (and) his failure to identify these problems for over one year.”
One paragraph in particular jumped out at me. Although the identity of the subject is redacted, it looks like they're talking about the former Eng. Here's what they said:
"The ________ purposefully maintained an appearance of ignorance of the integrity violations happening in his departmect and on the ship to preserve culpable deniability."That's gotta win some sort of award for best characterization ever in a Command Investigation. Rather than just say "The guy was a weasel", the investigator finds just the right buzzwords to make the guy look like an even bigger sh*tbag than he might actually be. BZ, [redacted]!
So what do you think? Was it overkill or a fair report? Will anything actually change in the Force because of the problems found on the Hampton? Will lessons actually be learned? I'm guardedly optimistic.
Update 0530 17 March: Here's the Navy Times story on the report.