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.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

SWFPAC CO Relieved For Cause

The Commanding Officer of Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific at Naval Base Kitsap has been fired, according to this story in The Kitsap Sun. Excerpts:
Capt. Timothy J. Block, the commanding officer of Bangor’s nuclear weapons facility, has been relieved of duty, according to a Navy spokesman.
Rear Adm. Stephen E. Johnson, the Navy’s director of strategic systems programs, removed Block on Friday because of “a loss of confidence in his ability to continue to lead,” said Cmdr. J.A. “Cappy” Surette, a spokesman at the Pentagon...
...Surette said there was no “specific issue or incident” that led to Block’s removal and that public safety was not jeopardized at the facility, which assembles, stores and places nuclear weapons on submarines...
...Block was about a year into his three-year tour. He has been reassigned and his next duty station has not been determined, Surette said.
While we don't want to speculate without any facts, we can all be happy that public safety wasn't jeopardized.


Blogger phw said...

Wasn't this man's predecessor also fired?

There was a rash of problems handling nuclear weapons in Air Force that ultimately lead to the firing of the Secretary and the Chief-of-Staff. The problems with the Air Force were very serious and there is no information that indicates the Navy has as serious a problem. Still the Navy is going to be very sensitive about this, and it should be.

8/22/2009 3:13 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Will bet a hat it involves friggin' in the riggin'. That or NR (be fun if it were both...).

8/22/2009 3:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next tour of duty = CivPac.

8/23/2009 7:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a party close to this I can tell you the following things:
1. No, it was not his predecessor that was fired. That was 2 COs ago.
2. It had nothing to do with handling any weapons
3.No friggin' in the riggin'
4. It was a lot of things that added up and there were a lot of smiling faces around the day it happened.

8/23/2009 8:13 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

And the answer is...

So why was this cat fired? What things 'added up?'

8/24/2009 4:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe he was on of the cats in charge of the design of the cammi's.. Ahhh the humanity

8/24/2009 7:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Things added up usually just means the guy was a raging @$$#0|3 with power. We've all known one, but not all of them have enough power to create enough impact to eventually get themselves fired.


8/24/2009 8:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That last comment makes the most sense in terms of likelihood, but stop and think about it: if the Nav is going to start firing all the "raging @$$#0|3"s...who's going to turn the lights out when the building is empty?

8/24/2009 8:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

if the Nav is going to start firing all the "raging @$$#0|3"s...who's going to turn the lights out when the building is empty?

The Navy actually does not fire too many of them. Most of them get promoted!

8/25/2009 6:08 AM

Anonymous STSC said...

What were some of the things that "added up" to = fired.

I have worked for some power trip CO's & they never get fired (for that). Usually it is a Class A mishap, a DUI, or an inappropriate relationship/harassment.

It annoys me why they just say "loss of confidence" instead of "loss of confidence because he can't keep his schlong in his pants". I understand the need to limit the airing of dirty laundry to the public, but it almost always comes out eventually in the community.

This as far as I'm aware came out of nowhere. Granted my awareness of all things SWFPAC severely dimmed since I left Bangor almost 9 yrs ago.

8/25/2009 6:23 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

To me, this remark speaks volums as to the "Why":

(Quoted from the Kitsap Sun)
“An officer in command has a unique position of trust and responsibility, and has a key role in shaping morale, good order and discipline within the command,” Surette said. “Because of this unique position, his immediate superiors must have full confidence in the officer’s judgment and ability to command.”

To the trained reader, this is pretty telling, without really "telling". Maybe he was a raging @$$#0|3, maybe not, but I'm sure a look at the OPREP/Unit Sitrep archives would add another piece to the puzzle.

8/25/2009 9:46 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Answer: it was an NR problem. Local source - can't say more.

8/25/2009 11:15 AM

Blogger phw said...

What is NR? Surely not Naval Reactors.

8/25/2009 11:57 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

To clarify: NR Himself (Adm Donald) conducted a review of all US nuclear weapons operations after the Air Force managed to lose track of some nukes in flight and then mis-sent some nuclear weapon components to Taiwan. SWFPAC's inadequate response to issues uncovered by 'NR' (i.e., Kirkland Donald) in that 2008 review were at the heart of the CO's DFC. Or so am told by folks on the ground.

8/25/2009 12:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, what does NR stand for?

Naval Reactors

Naughty Rabblerousers

Navy Regulations

Nasty Rum

Noise Reduction

Naval Reserves

Do any of those count?

8/25/2009 1:02 PM

Blogger FTC(SS) ret. said...

If I'm not mistaken Admiral Kirkland was acting in his capacity as a Deputy Administrator in the National Nuclear Security Administration when he did his review of SWFPac. RD correct me if I'm wrong but the Admiral wears more than one hat as NR.

8/25/2009 1:18 PM

Blogger FTC(SS) ret. said...

My mistake. Admiral Donald

8/25/2009 1:19 PM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...


8/25/2009 1:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

anav is the closest.

8/25/2009 7:53 PM

Anonymous STSC said...

I hadn't checked back here yet for replies but this topic happened to come up around the cofee pot as I passed by today so I asked.

SWFPAC's DNSI & NTPI awhile back both did not go well. Big deficiencies were longstanding issues that hadn't been corrected. Both aren't good things to happen but not cause for a DFC by themselves (or even together).

Aforementioned Facilities Inspection by the big brass MONTHS after the DNSI/NTPI and nothing had been done to correct issues cited by 3 outside agencies except to 'conduct meetings'.

Rumor is when asked (by Donald's staff perhaps, I dunno), some of the CPO's brought up that they were spending 4-5hrs PER DAY in meetings & unable to do/supervise work because when they weren't in meetings they were preparing paperwork/colorful charts for the NEXT meeting.

That was the clincher to bring the boot in my understanding.
So that's why there wasn't anything unsafe in handling or operations per se & why I could see why there would be many smiling faces around after the DFC.

8/25/2009 9:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...when they weren't in meetings they were preparing paperwork/colorful charts for the NEXT meeting."

Chiefs need to be out running the divsion / department. Officers need to diddle their mouse, play with power point (or whatever) and keep the CO off the Chief's back.

Nothing new here. No new Lessons Learned.

Retired QMC

8/25/2009 10:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like the new CO wanted to get a full picture making changes. Guess he took too long to get oriented.

8/26/2009 2:13 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

A comment from the business world: the Navy (and military in general) has a lot of 'managers' who could not survive for 5 minutes in an aggressive, well-run for-profit corporation. In the management end of the business world, retiring military are respected for their work ethic and often hired for their contacts. Innate management experience is usually not on the list.

8/26/2009 5:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard he was fired because they caught him riding on top of a missle while banging his secretary dressed as ADM Donald and burning the Sailor's Creed

8/26/2009 8:14 AM

Blogger Bigbill said...

Because the Navy (NR) investigate the Air Force, the Navy nuclear weapon's program was in the spotlight as well. Any CO who didn't heed the lessons learned from the investigation was just asking to get fired. I heard the brief from the man himself during a directors conference.

8/26/2009 9:53 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

A comment from the business world: the Navy (and military in general) has a lot of 'managers' who could not survive for 5 minutes in an aggressive, well-run for-profit corporation. In the management end of the business world, retiring military are respected for their work ethic and often hired for their contacts. Innate management experience is usually not on the list.

Too right, Duck. In the military world, too many (especially promotion boards) associate "Management" with "Who and How Many", rather than "WHAT was managed and HOW. In the corporate world, how many of who you managed isn't nearly as important as what programs, contracts, etc, you managed and how well you executed them with your available resources.
Though the navy will vehemently deny it, too many of us were trained to micro-manage and never realized we were doing it...all the while believing we were "managing" when, in reality, we were merely "directing". Thankfully, most of us figure it out sooner, rather than later and are able to adapt well in the corporate world. Those who don't will soon become familiar, on a personal level, with the words spoken by the Duck.

For what it's worth, I despise the recent window stickers representing CPO's that have started cropping up in NEX's...the one that depicts the snarling skull and crossbones wearing a CPO combination cover. IMO, it absolutely goes against all of my beliefs of what a Chief is and should be. Maybe off-topic, but certainly on point.

8/26/2009 10:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, very juvenile and even a little embarrassing.

As hard-lined as Campa was, thought for sure he would have killed this fad back when it started to become mainstream.


8/27/2009 9:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely love the skull and croosbones depiction. It represents the tenacious/ferocious warfighter that all Chiefs should be first and foremost. Maybe some of you prefer the latte swilling, cammy wearing, metrosexual, water boiling, paper pushing wannabes that permeate our ranks but I personally prefer to be in the company of Chiefs who aren't afraid to snarl a little bit when it's warranted and understand the mission is to put ordinance on target. None of them are embarrased by this nor do they think it's juvenile. They understand what it depicts and have no probelm being part of it.

8/27/2009 11:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like something a 10th grader would sketch during class because he thinks it looks tough. I just find very unprofessional, and even silly. To each his own....


8/27/2009 12:53 PM

Blogger Bigbill said...

Since we went off on the skull emblem for Chiefs, I'll have my say.

I equate it to the wanna-be tough guys who wear tapout and ultimate fight t-shirts. Either you're a bad ass or you're not, a t-shirt or symbol isn't going to make you one. Chiefs should walk the talk and the image will follow.

8/27/2009 2:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bigbill, rate/rank please

8/27/2009 3:42 PM

Blogger Bigbill said...

Well anonymous, I've been in the Navy since 1985 and have gone from SR to gold oak leaf. Did a tour with Joel in the 90's. How about you?

8/27/2009 7:04 PM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

I absolutely love the skull and croosbones depiction. It represents the tenacious/ferocious warfighter that all Chiefs should be first and foremost.

Well, seeing how the skull and crossbones has long been associated with tyranny and facism, I disagree with your assessment. If tenacity and ferocity are what you are looking for (and I certainly would not argue against that), perhaps something closer to a lion would be more appropriate. Just a thought.
As BigBill alluded to, I don't need a sticker (or T-Shirt, for that matter) to tell people who I am...I'll just show you.

8/28/2009 3:22 AM

Blogger Rubber Ducky said...

Hey why not use the fouled anchor as the symbol for the CPO. Just a thought...

8/28/2009 6:23 AM

Blogger Ret ANAV said...

OK, I had that coming. :)

8/28/2009 9:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: skull and crossbones with CPO hardhat t-shirt,

Chief, If you need to wear it, by all means do so....

I stole this fair and square from a former CMC who's name I can't recall, who made a similar statement regarding marines with swagger sticks.

I think the idea fits today with this t-shirt.

My two cents, and keep a zero bubble...........


8/28/2009 2:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

General Pate commented:

"There is one item of equipment about which I have a definite opinion. It is the swagger stick. It shall remain an optional item of interference. If you feel the need of it, carry it"…

Seems that former CMC stole it fair and square from the good General.

8/28/2009 8:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was fired because he had balls and wouldn't suck swfpacs dick

9/01/2009 3:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

he was SWFPAC. Why would he wantto do that to himself?

9/02/2009 9:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the big introduction meeting with the man at the base theater he turned to proudly display his slender profile, bragged about running 4-5 miles every day, and then commenced to harangue military, civil service, and contractors about the benefits of exercise and healthy living. I knew at that point that he wouldn't last long. It took less than six months for the contractor unions to start filing complaints. When he depleted the budget buying paint to pretty up the facility the clock started ticking on his relief. Yes, he was a raging @$$&^%$, but that was merely the tip of the iceberg. He was inefficient, ineffective, displayed a complete lack of trust in the professionals who know way more about the operations there than he does, and had the stereotypical aviator ego. When confronted by the Admiral who was his boss he whined like a spoiled child and blamed all his problems on everyone else.

11/02/2009 3:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the comment dated 11/2/09!! First of all your ignorance is apparent due to your lack of correct information!! As well let's pile on your your narrow vision and so called clairvoyance. You're amusing we can see that. :) In regards to his profile, my observation of that same event was that his references to running, were not bragging but his encouraging of life long health. If you are not a CO how do you know where his responsibilities lay? Physical health of his command is part of his job! Leaders must be concerned about those percentages of a aged and overweight workforce. He DID manage to run daily and on top of that work a 60 to 80 hour work week!! Probably while you were sitting in your soft chair watching football and downing a beer and chips. As to the paint's called pride in your work environment. It starts with the simple things and works up to the complex. Pot shots from a seat of minor responsibilities is easy. Leadership and responsibility is not. Especially working in SP!! SP is a hotbed of backstabbers and gossip queens and kings. What I see in the Captain is a LEADER...not a puppet or politically correct officer. Sheep...easily "BAH" in aimless complaint. Oh BTW the Captain has many, many years of managing BILLIONS in materials and development. Zero balance? What a idiot!! Open up your head man and smell the roses and not the remnants of cows. You should admire a man like him. The self made man who began as an E-1 and round up to a 0-6 with multiple degress and areas of expertise!! Think about the leadership officed in DC before you think of anything negative in this fine man and rare officer!! After working in the navy for over 30 years with #1 FitReps, do your think a kink in his armor would have shown? Damn straight it would have, BUT in less than a year SUDDENLY he wasn't up to the job at SWFPAC? Comical!! Use the head man!! Was he to you, just that threat because he expected you to EARN your salary or put in a full 40 hour week? Was he a threat because in the business world there are NEW methods to do that better job? The Captain is FIRST a Naval Officer!! Then he is that Submariner, that Aviator, that Surface Officer, that NATO officer, that ANAV officer, etc., etc., etc. WAKE UP!! Look beyond the small talk and the guess work. KNOW the man before you open your mouth!! Be embarrassed of your small mindset and lack of conduct with your character. Thank God the world is not completely full of people such as yourself!!

11/05/2009 2:55 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

22 commands in 24 years. That says it all.

12/18/2009 6:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the "Anonymous" poster on11/05/2009 2:55 PM:

You hit the nail right on the head.

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