Friday, May 06, 2005

Unidentified Captain Remains in Charge of Reactor

The AP reports NJP hearings after a fatal mishap on the Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) not disclosed until this week. Rear Adm. Robert J. Cox summoned the captain in charge of the reactor department, a lieutenant and two sailors for non-judicial punishment hearings in March, Mooney said. Officers were punished for inconsistently enforcing standard operating procedures and leadership failures. The Navy did not release the names of those punished or details or outcomes of hearings, citing privacy laws.

Was the unidentified Captain in charge of CVN-76's reactor department from submarines? Perhaps the award-winning Bubblehead will let us know. What would Admiral Rickover have done? Rickover was noted for his demanding, disciplined, perfectionist leadership style. Rickover's demanding standards of excellence in submarines and the nuclear surface Navy are used in the electric power industry to promote safety. His insistence on submarine safety and quality are reknowned. A thirty-eight year submarine officer, Vice Admiral "Yogi" Kaufman summed up Rickover's influence: "you can argue with his methods, but you can't argue with the results."

In January, a Petty Officer was disassembling a valve when he was hit by scalding water, according to the Navy. He was burned over most of his body and died a short time later. In February, one of the ship's generators was damaged beyond repair by an incorrect lineup of electrical power. Replacing the generator will cost $7.2 million and take nine weeks, according to the Navy. Chief Petty Officer Ray Mooney, a spokesman for the Naval Air Forces, was unable to provide more details about the error. Nuclear industry experts said such damage can occur when the crew brings online a generator that is completely out of sync with the others. What has happened to nuke school screening and training? How many lawyers are attached to the Charleston training command? More than zero is too many! Maybe our friend at A Geezer's Corner can shed light on these questions.


At 07 May, 2005 20:41, Blogger Bubblehead said...

As far as I know, most carrier Reactor Officers are "home-grown" surface nukes now; it's been a while since a submariner has been a carrier RO. With the large number of enlisted personnel required to man a CVNs reactor department, about half of all enlisted nukes are now surface types; since all submarine line officers are nukes, you still have a majority of the nuclear officers being submariners, but the gap is closing as the CVNs replace the CVs.

At 28 May, 2005 16:12, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know all of the people involved. So here's a bit of truth.
Ben's death was an accident. It was actually due to a problem with the procedure, so really, the jerks who wrote the valve lineup are at fault. Had the navy released what happened at the captain's masts, the public would have been suprised to learn, 'all charges dismissed'. The evidence showed that no person was at fault. Ben's death was and is painful, tragic, and accidental in the true sense. There were no sins of commission or neglect. Just remember when you read the papers, that they are written to sell to the American public.. and the American pulic tends to like bad news, and the worst slant tends to be put on things.
I know everyone involved in this mess quite well, and I knew Ben probably better than any living soul, and I can promise that the way the papers keep wanting to slant things would have upset him. He loved the navy, and wouldn't want it torn down in the press or public opinion, so please respect his memory.

At 29 May, 2005 12:54, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous: No one thus far, including the press, has colored the Petty Officer's death as other than "accidental". The fact remains that under Adm. Rickover, such accidents were rare with officers in charge paying quickly with their careers. One is hard pressed to imagine an approved valve line-up, red-tagging included, that would allow a sailor to be scalded, unless the sailor took a shortcut in procedure. Molten Eagle seems to point the finger of responsibility at today's emphasis on too many JAG salaries rather than old0fashioned, Rickover style discipline. How many lawyers are assigned to the NUC training facility in Charleston, insider?

At 29 May, 2005 23:47, Blogger Vigilis said...

The Petty Officer's name has been removed from my blog; hope this respects everyone's sensitivity. Ironically, the Navy provided the P.O.'s name to the media, but withheld the Reactor Dept. Capt.'s name, pending due process. That is appropriate.


Post a Comment

<< Home