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.)

Sunday, January 06, 2013

The Other Shoe Drops

In the least unexpected piece of news about the Submarine Force in some time:
Capt. Blake Converse, Commander, Submarine Squadron 6, relieved Cmdr. Thomas Winter, commanding officer of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Montpelier (SSN 765), of his duties Jan. 4 due to loss of confidence in Winter's ability to command.
The relief comes after a thorough command investigation into the collision that occurred between USS Montpelier and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) off the coast of Florida Oct. 13, 2012.
The investigation revealed that the principal cause of the collision was human error, poor teamwork by the Montpelier watch team, and the commanding officer's failure to follow established procedures for submarines operating at periscope depth. Additionally, the investigation revealed contributing factors threaded among the various command and control headquarters that provide training and operational oversight within Fleet Forces Command.
Our previous discussion about the Montpelier collision can be found here. While I'm interested to see the relief announcement say that the investigation uncovered "contributing factors" among the headquarters and oversight commands (normally these investigations say that it was entirely the fault of a few "bad apples" on the boat, and the shore duty guys who trained them were blameless) we won't know what really happened until someone does an FOIA request for a redacted copy of the investigation. Hopefully that will come out soon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel bad for CDR Winter - sucks having to wait for the inevitable for over 2 months, especially over the holidays.

Fair winds and following winds shipmate! Best of luck in your future endeavors.

1/06/2013 8:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

At first glance, it is surprising that any mention of the shore staff guys makes it in. But, CAPT Converse relieved at CSS6 only a few weeks before this incident, and he's exactly the type of guy who will push to identify ALL of the problems, whether his staff has any culpability at all. It's not like he's been there for 18 months and any problems with the training/certification of the crew is a reflection on his command. So it kind of makes sense that he would examine that aspect of it and clean house as neccessary. Best of luck to CDR Winter, by all accounts he is (not was) a superb Naval Officer.

1/06/2013 9:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what the insinuation is about the shore command who trained them is faultless. The at sea command coming up to the trainers frequently have an attitude of, "we will train ourselves", and do not force the contact management teams into guidance UNTIL they are in the trainers. So then, the instructors are showing what the guidance is and where it is, and not as much time practicing.

1/06/2013 9:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Other Shoe Drops"




1/06/2013 11:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why this decision took so long? My husband's CO was fired off the Kentucky a couple of years back (also a very good CO, at least in my husband's opinion), and they fired him right away... for a close call, they did not even hit anything. It's unfortunate, regardless.

1/06/2013 11:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The press statement is very carefully worded. I would not immediately jump to the conclusion that the CSS-6 staff is the contributing cause. The boat was doing a fleet ASW exercise working a CSG up for deployment. There are many staffs involved in the planning and execution of those exercises.
No matter, I'm sure there is plenty of "fault" to go around. If some of that ends up on the group, TYCOM and fleet staffs then that is probably a good sign.

1/06/2013 12:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"human error" - going to PD without a baffle clear, zigs not reported, not recognizing zigs, crappy op-ord

"poor teamwork by the Montpelier watch team" -- no backup provided to the approach officer with the conn.

"failure to follow established procedures for submarines operating at periscope depth" -- approach officer not calling emergency deep when he spotted SAJ close aboard.

1/06/2013 12:47 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

We all have been versed in Occam's razor.

What may best explain the relatively lengthy delay in CDR Winter's being relieved of command (compared for instance to Capt. [Owen] Honors, former CO of USS Enterprise) and a rather unusual admission of some contributory responsibility at staff training level?

The simplest explanation for both departures from the ordinary would also be testimony to CDR Winter's astuteness: - he leveled the charge of training inadequacy and it simply took a bit of time for investigators to establish that while that may have been a contributory factor in the collision, it was never a root cause.

1/06/2013 5:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have another theory ... new CSF, with a very different perspective on CO firings than his predecessor, especially based on his history of going to bat for his skippers in the face of pressure from seniors & NR.

CO obviously gets fired, if he deserved it, but it's not automatic, and more thoughtful than the knee jerk reactions we may be used to. It's about time.

1/06/2013 6:52 PM

Anonymous Just Say'in said...

^^^ So Vigilinas ^^^

You're saying that he deflected blame, started the flashing lights, continued sucking Co*k - like he did to be a "Top 5 CO" of the force?

Wouldn't surprise me... After a Class A mishap afterall.

And maybe we should examine the criteria for being a "Top 5 CO" - seems like a few of those have read too much of their owm press and have been published here!

1/06/2013 6:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^^Not true of this particular CO. He earned the respect of his crew, peers, and superiors by being an excellent submariner and leader, always working hard and showing up every day to do his best....even in the 3 months when he was waiting every day to be fired. What a shitty way to go.

1/06/2013 7:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was not onboard MONTPELIER during the collision, but I served with CDR Winter on a previous tour. I learned from him every day, and he is one of the reasons for my success. I cannot speak to what happened onboard that day, but I can speak to his character and his professionalism. I am sure he and his team made mistakes, but personal attacks are unwarranted, and speak only to the ignorance of the author.

1/06/2013 10:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am surprised that Vigilis has not implicated women in subs as part of this conspiracy. My post from 1/6 12:47 tells why this happened. When you have the conn, it is hard to blame the training corps.

More importantly, the CO did not implicate off-ship entities for the accident. Only POS's like Waddle blame others for their errors.

Looking at the press release, I would guess the timing was so that they could avoid an interim CO and just install someone right out of SCC. Probably harder on Winter than just relieving him back in October.

1/07/2013 1:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^ So who is the "lucky guy" that got tapped to relieve CDR Winter and fix MON?

1/07/2013 4:18 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

"You're saying that he deflected blame, started the flashing lights, continued sucking Co*k - like he did to be a "Top 5 CO" of the force?" - Just Say'in

On the contrary, I have NOT been critical of CDR Winter in the least. What Winter's may have testified relative to training deficiencies had to have been the truth or there would have been no admission of a correctable training deficiency at all.

If possible, I advise you to read a bit more carefully and exercise due care before spouting your drivel... just saying.

1/07/2013 10:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously? Who certifies the crew to go to sea? CSS-6 right? Shouldn't the squadron fire the Squadorn Deputy, Squadron Operations Officer and Squadron ANAV? Bet they all get great FITREPs despite they have failed in their responsiblity to train and certify the submarine crew.

1/07/2013 11:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over at Sub Report there's something about a 'Palatka Connection'. Seems there are two curious and very unlikely coincidences concerning the skydiver who vanished just East of Kitsap sub base. Is there more to it?

1/07/2013 3:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

7th 326,
Nice one Centurion, nice.

1/07/2013 5:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who certifies the crew to go to sea? CSS-6 right?

The squadron certifies the ship for deployment (with TYCOM concurrence). They don't certify the ship to go to sea on local OPS. Now that we've eliminated three squadrons, staffs are now tasked to cover even more boats with the same manning. You find fault in the squadron ANAV? They didn't go out of area. You sound like a bitter Dum Bass.

1/07/2013 10:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well the TEDs get fucked for simple tag out mistakes or nodding off on watch and the other myriad of other trivial shit.

So if a CO gets his boat run over my a Destroyer I think it warrants a loss of pension and brig time IMO.

I enjoy watching these clowns fall one after the other.

1/08/2013 9:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^^...said Ivan Spanindamonkeyovitch.

1/08/2013 8:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

1/08/2013 9:53 AM said

"So if a CO gets his boat run over my a Destroyer I think it warrants a loss of pension and brig time IMO.

I enjoy watching these clowns fall one after the other."

It's not hilarious to see our Submarine force look bad, just weakens the country. You sound like a communist - why don't you move to China! BTW it was a Cruiser - you double douche nozzle!

1/08/2013 9:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No guys, I really am rooting against the Navy brass and home these incidents keeps occurring do they whole Navy gets revamped. It's not 1800 anymore and yet the Navy operates like its frozen in time.

It's not the equipment, it's the mentality and people.

And the CO should get severe punishment. Dock his pension for those cost to taxpayers and a couple months brig time minimum.

1/09/2013 3:35 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

@ Anon 1/09/2013 3:35

Submarine officer recruitment (currently assignment), training and retention are already difficult enough propositions for Navy by other military standards.

To this discouraging mix you propose the potential of more severe punishment, including docking pensions when mistakes occur?

Can you name any other military environment of 3-dimensional hazards faced by subs in which your proposed fixes have actually demonstrated intended results without degrading recruiting, training and retention?

This is the United States, and government must be the servant of a free people rather than their cruel master.

1/09/2013 12:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

viginis, so when a TED makes a mistake he gets busted in rank, loses pay, and it's a death sentence to making chief if it happens at the wrong time.

And if it happens at 19.5 years that guy is SOL on his pension.

And when you really look at what people get in trouble for, it's petty BS that the rest of the US society would consider insignificant.

Now you have a officers such as Winters, Waddle, and many others who truly put their crew at risk, in some cases people have been killed, and cost significant money to US taxpayers.

I'd like to know how many guys he's flushed out during his career and the penalties they got versus what he's getting.

And yet, this guy get to ride into the sunset with full pension. He'll just go work with one of his Navy buddies who will land him a job. Not exactly a fair deck now is it.

I'm rooting against the sub fleet. It's a miracle we haven't lost a boat yet in recent times so hopefully something drastically changes before we do.

The entire program, recruitment, training, and retentions needs as massive overhaul.

They need to have much steeper punsihments for these kinds of fuck-ups.

1/09/2013 1:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1:46

It is hard to tell if you are sober, my friend. To make your point if you truly have one as a qualified member of any sub crew, why don't you answer Vig's question. Perhaps you have no answer?


1/09/2013 4:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@anonymous 1:46,

The mistakes you quoted (screwing up tagouts and falling asleep on watch) also put other Sailors' lives at risk. But you somehow quote them as "trivial shit."

Trivial shit is not having your boots shined or wearing non-leather gloves. Screwing up tagouts and sleeping on watch are not trivial; they are both examples of dereliction of duty and both can lead to either killing Sailors or destroying expensive equipment.

CDR Winter lost all chances of a future career in the Navy, which we can probably assume he would have pursued if not for this class A mishap. If he really was a "top 5 CO," he was probably a shoe-in for major command. I don't know if you've looked at O-6 through O-10 pay and bonuses, along with the increased retirement from continued service, but it's significantly more money than the $38k/year-ish he'll collect in retirement for retiring as an O-5.

By contrast, a 19.5 year first class petty officer in the submarine force already spent his career being a fuckup. If he were not, he'd be a chief. He was already doing the minimum possible to skate by to retirement and has no chance in hell of advancement, so the only thing you can do is take that away.

1/09/2013 7:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dereliction is supposed to involve willful actions. Not showing up for work, blazing a PM signoff.

Masting an SRO for nodding while sitting in the chair at 3AM on a shut down plant is trivial and petty BS.

Saw it many times and the end result is a bitter service member.

Unfortunately the Navy asshats never recognize that many of these issues are from guys working sleep deprived. Ever notice that the fast boats have more issues than the in boomerville? Think long and hard about that numb nuts.

So on one hand the TEDs are considered useless, not deserving of higher pay or recognition and then, you post like some of the TEDs are one improperly filled tag out log away from killing someone. Give me a break.

I'm gloating to see Winter's failure. MUUUUUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Some of us were in and see the other side and just how stupid the Nuclear Navy operates. It's a tired and ineffective way to operate an organization.

And, it's why a guy who gets his boat run over gets his full pension while a guy who happened to get busted at 20-22 years old at mast can have the rest of his career derailed for petty BS. Yes, 99% of mast cases are petty BS. Saw it many times and why I think officers don't get punished enough for such major mistakes.

Waddle actually killed people!! Tell me what would have happened to a TED who did something that sunk a fishing boat?

1/10/2013 4:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Usually when a mast occurs for something "trivial" (your words not mine) it is the culmination of continued under performance and it is the straw that breaks the camels back. You don't take a solid performing sailor to mast for a mistake.
BTW - why did you go to mast?

1/10/2013 2:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So if a CO gets his boat run over my a Destroyer I think it warrants a loss of pension and brig time IMO."

Sounds like you are choking on the bullshit before you can get it out of your mouth. First, you make no sense in your poor use of the Queen's English. Second, you obviously don't know what actually got hit. Third, start docking people's pay should operating in risky environments will lead it even more folks afraid to do the job or opt not to do it all together. We will then be truly in the hurt locker.

If we are going to start docking a CO's pay, what about docking the pay of all those ass clowns in DC running our country into the ground.


Someone at work made the comment this relief took so long for the simply fact the NAVY didn't want to set a new record high of 26 CO firings in a year. I doubt that is the reason but a thought.

Anyone hear about JAX yet?

1/10/2013 5:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a shame. I served with Tom and can honestly say he one of the best officers I have seen at any level. Good luck in the future my friend.

1/10/2013 7:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So it's ok to take pay from and e4 to e5 for some stupid infraction. You know, that TED who's probably living paycheck to paycheck and may even have a wife and kid but yet that take money from him.

Yes, COs need more accountability and should face financial and criminal penalties. Mistakes like Winters's are costing real money and putting real lives at stake.

Love to see them falling like dominos. That's what it's going to take to get entire pipeline gutted.

Keep in mind dick nose, I vote and can contact elected officials on military waste. The sub fleet is an expensive relic and doing everything they can to create work. The sub force truly has become a solution looking for a problem.

I'm rooting against you, shipmate.

1/11/2013 3:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Keep in mind dick nose, I vote and can contact elected officials on military waste. "

Thanks for providing a good little Friday afternoon chuckle! Some of the toughest guys on the internet post right here.

1/11/2013 12:34 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, looks like JACKSONVILLE has come to the rescue again, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

That collision thread already has eclipsed this one, and this one has jumped the track to bitter blueshirts bitching.

Move on

1/12/2013 6:10 AM

Blogger jason haris said...

Usually I am not regular to read article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice article.

rescue my pension

7/10/2013 6:37 AM


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