Submarine commander removed after October collision
By MIKE HIXENBAUGH | The Virginian-Pilot | Published: January 4, 2013
Cmdr. Thomas Winter, the skipper of the submarine Montpelier, was relieved of command Friday.
The dismissal comes nearly three months after the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine collided with the guided-missile cruiser San Jacinto during a training exercise off the coast of Florida.
Capt. Blake Converse, commander of Submarine Squadron Six, relieved Winter “due to a loss of confidence” in his ability to command, the Navy said in a news release.
An investigation into the Oct. 13 collision “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.”
The investigation also revealed unspecified “contributing factors” related to training and oversight within Fleet Forces Command.
The incident will lead to a review of training structures and preparation for exercises involving submarines and surface ships, said Brian Badura, a spokesman for Fleet Forces.
Eventually, training will be provided to all staff on lessons learned from the collision, Badura said.
Cmdr. Stephen Mongold replaces Winter, who has been placed on administrative duty at Submarine Force Atlantic in Norfolk.
The commanding officer of the San Jacinto is not facing disciplinary action at this time, Badura said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services