USS Nebraska Accident Report Completed
Navy Times is reporting that the Navy has released some preliminary information from the investigation into the tragic death of MM3(SS) Michael Gentile aboard USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) (Blue). Excerpts:
A Navy investigation into the Sept. 20 death of a submariner found that the sailor got himself into a deadly situation aboard the ballistic missile submarine Nebraska...Without further details, it's hard to determine where the truth lies. My own experience is that if a boat is planning on doing cleaning in Shaft Alley while underway, you station a phone-talker with direct comms to Control to verify everyone is clear before moving any control surface. If, on the other hand, they weren't specifically cleaning in Shaft Alley, you have to trust in the posted warnings and training.
...Gentile, of Waterville, Maine, had gotten caught and stuck in the rudder ram, which lies in the submarine’s aft section, during a cleaning evolution.
The investigation report was completed by the Silverdale, Wash.-based Submarine Group-Trident under the Judge Advocate General’s Manual.
“It has been determined that while performing routine watchstanding duties, Petty Officer Gentile disregarded posted safety warnings, which ultimately led him to become pinned between the rudder ram and nearby stationary equipment,” officials said in a statement released Wednesday...
Update 1725 26 Nov: The article has been updated and expanded since I first posted about it; it now also discusses shortcomings found in the command climate, "specifically lack of enforcing safety rules and the cleaning habits and practices in shaft alley, where some sailors had taken to using sticks or bilge grabbers to reach and clean its tight confines." It goes on to say that the CSS-17 has been assigned to determine any additional administrative actions to take against the ship's leadership; this article from the Kitsap Sun, however, says that any such administrative action would not include being removed from duty aboard the ship.