Two relieved of command following sub's grounding off Sardinia
Two naval officers have been relieved of their commands after an investigation into the brief grounding of the USS Hartford submarine last month.
Capt. Greg Parker, commander of Submarine Squadron 22, and Cmdr. Christopher R. Van Metre, commanding officer of the Hartford, were relieved Saturday in La Maddalena, Sardinia, according to a 6th Fleet news release.
The release said the action was taken by Rear Adm. P. Stephen Stanley, commander of Submarine Group Eight, after he lost confidence in their ability to command as a result of the investigation into the Oct. 25 incident in which the sub scraped bottom in the port of La Maddelena.
Parker, Van Metre and three other officers and three enlisted crewmembers were disciplined in a nonjudicial punishment proceeding Saturday. Charged with dereliction of duty, each received individual punishments.
In addition, one of the officers and one enlisted were administratively relieved of duties and ordered to return to their parent squadron in Connecticut.
Capt. Mike Mckinnon, a member of the Submarine Group 8 staff, assumed command of the Hartford on Saturday. He is an interim commanding officer.
Submarine Group 8 is responsible for operational control of submarines deployed to the Mediterranean Sea. Submarine Squadron 22 is in charge of monitoring the operational and material readiness of ships under the group’s control, and taking action for correcting deficiencies.
As of Saturday, the Hartford remained at Naval Support Activity La Maddalena, undergoing temporary repairs to its rudder and plates along the hull. Once repairs are complete, the submarine will return to Norfolk, Va., for permanent repairs.
There were no injuries in the incident. The ship began a scheduled six-month deployment in October.