Attack sub commander fired after arrest on domestic assault charge

By DIANNA CAHN | The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot | Published: August 16, 2014

NORFOLK, Va. — The commander of the Norfolk-based attack submarine Newport News was fired from his position Friday, less than a week after being arrested in Chesapeake on a domestic assault charge.

Chesapeake police spokeswoman Kelly O'Sullivan said Cmdr. Christopher Tarsa was arrested at his home early Sunday morning after police received a call of "a domestic nature" Saturday night.

Police would not disclose the identity of the caller or the caller's relation to the incident.

Friday, the Navy issued a statement that Capt. Paul Snodgrass, who heads Submarine Squadron 6 based at Norfolk Naval Station, had "lost confidence in Tarsa's ability to serve effectively."

"The Navy holds those in positions of command to very high standards and holds them accountable when those standards are not met," it added.

Tarsa was reassigned to the staff of Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic.

A Navy spokesman said after Tarsa's arrest, the Navy launched its own investigation, which is continuing.

"The relief is not related to professional performance," said Lt. Tim Hawkins, a spokesman for Navy Submarine Group 2 out of Groton, Conn., which oversees the squadron of Norfolk-based subs.

"The facts from the ongoing investigation and the rights of all involved were carefully considered when this decision was made," he added.

Cmdr. Roger Meyer, Snodgrass's deputy, has assumed command of the Los Angeles-class submarine until a permanent replacement is named. Meyer previously commanded the submarine Miami, the Navy said.

Tarsa, 41, took command of the Newport News last August. He has served aboard a number of submarines during his nearly 20-year career, including as executive officer of the ballistic missile submarine Tennessee, from 2008 to 2010.

Tarsa's arrest was reported Friday by the Navy Times, citing a Navy document. The newspaper reported that Tarsa's spouse obtained military and civilian protective orders and that Tarsa is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Cmdr. Christopher Tarsa


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