SSBN CO Relieved For Cause
The Commanding Officer of the Gold Crew of USS West Virginia (SSBN 736), CDR Charles "Tony" Hill, was relieved for a "lack of confidence" in his ability to command, according to this report from the Florida Times-Union. Excerpts:
Officials at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, where the West Virginia is ported, said there was no specific incident that led to the removal of Cmdr. Charles “Tony” Hill. The decision was made by Capt. Daniel Mack, commander of Submarine Squadron Sixteen/Twenty.I didn't find any more information on any of the official Navy websites, and I haven't heard any word on the street yet about what might have happened. I'll let you know if I read anything useful.
Hill completed his first deployment as commanding officer aboard the West Virginia in November. He was commanding officer of one of the two crews that alternate patrols aboard the Trident submarine.
Hill has been temporarily assigned to Commander, Submarine Group Twenty, Navy officials said. He will be replaced by Capt. Stephen Gillespie, a former commanding officer of the USS Rhode Island. Gillespie is the deputy for training at Submarine Squadron Sixteen/Twenty...
...No commanding officer has been relieved of duties the past five years at Kings Bay, but Rebarich said she couldn’t check beyond that time period because much of her staff is on vacation for the holidays.
Staying at PD...
Update 1100 30 Dec: Here's the Navy Times update on the story; it has some of CDR Hill's biographical information, but not much new data. Here's the first official Navy announcement, which has even less new info.
Update 1010 01 Jan 2009: Based on the comments here, and the "word on the street", it appears to me that Big Sub Force did the right thing with respect to CDR Hill and the 736G crew. Based on what I'm hearing, the Sub Force leadership noticed problems with the boat, conducted a fair and thorough investigation, and took appropriate action. I'm thinking that by getting ahead of the story, the Sub Force will avoid some of the negative publicity they had from the USS Florida / CDR Alfonso story back in the 90s. (Some of my thoughts on previous stories of domineering submarine COs can be found here, including some links to the Alfonso DFC.)