31 July 2008

George Washington Skipper and XO Get Canned; Smokers to Blame

The CO and XO of the carrier USS George Washington have been relieved of command (h/t Stupid Shall Be Punished). WTOP reports:

The announcement by the Navy came as Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, relieved the carrier's commanding officer, Capt. David C. Dykhoff, and the executive officer of duty, Capt. David M. Dober.

Willard said he lost confidence in their ability to command and their failure to meet mission standards after the investigation found that unauthorized smoking by a crew member appeared to have ignited flammable liquids and other combustible material that were improperly stored.

This was a pretty nasty fire that took 12 hours to put out. Many of the Shipyard workers from round here in Bremerton have been sent to San Diego to fix the ship, with damage estimates at $70M. The fact that it was started by smoking will ensure that there will be new Navy-wide regulations to curb nicotine consumption on ships. While out at sea near Guam, we had a refrigerant leak and couldn't smoke for about 30 hours while underway. It was one of my worst days in the Navy...and that's saying a lot! Here comes the morale crushing effects of the Big Navy in 3...2...