USS SAN FRANCISCO crewmen punished

Punishment meted out to six in grounding of submarine

In the Navy Times:At least six crew members of the submarine San Francisco, apparently including three senior leaders, have been punished at a nonjudicial hearing in Guam for their roles in the Jan. 8 underwater grounding that left one sailor dead and seriously injured two dozen more, sources say.
Punished at the March 22 “commodore’s mast” hearings in Guam were six crew members, a combination of enlisted, senior enlisted and officers, according to Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, spokesman for the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force. He said the six each were cited by Capt. Bradley Gehrke, commander of Submarine Squadron 15, for “actions that led to the grounding.”


The Navy has not yet released any of its investigations into the mishap but given the initial punishments, it appears that much of the blame has been placed on the submarine’s voyage planning process. In [former SAN FRANCISCO commander Captain] Mooney’s case, [7th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Jonathan W.] Greenert concluded, according to a spokesman, that “several critical navigational and voyage planning procedures were not being implemented aboard San Francisco. By not ensuring these standard procedures were followed, Mooney hazarded his vessel.”

Once a submarine’s superior command orders a sub to deploy and issues a basic track or operating area, the sub’s navigation team is totally responsible for properly planning the route, according to U.S. Submarine Forces in Norfolk. The actual charts and plan are prepared and approved by, in order, the sub’s assistant navigator, navigator, executive officer and commanding officer, according to the Norfolk command.

For a pic of the damage and a link to more, see this post.


  1. The guys got what they deserved. I was a submarine officer in the late 80’s and we never would have gone flank speed within 50 miles of underwater obstacles (they were within a few miles of know seamounts as I am told). I served with Brad Gehrke. I didn’t get alongt with him, but he was a competent officer and a real ball buster.

  2. You were obviously an officer, brian, since you seem to have no idea what you are talking about. The current subnote Im preping right now takes my boat within 20 NM of land, seamounts, and even worse stuff than that…(Guam.) I guess you should have spent a little more time talking with the Quartermaster rather than just doing what he said…

  3. Justin, Just becuase you operate submerged within 20 miles of land doesn’t mean that you have to go flank speed. Selection of speed is based on a variety of factors including relative risk and the tactical situation. While chasing women in Australia can be considered an operational imperative, all of the current and former submariners (officer and enlisted)I have spoken with think they were nuts for going that fast. BTW, if you think officers are so dumb, why don’t you go get an engineering degree from a top school(with a 3.0 or beter GPA), spend 18 fun-filled months at Nukle School, Prototype and Sub School, spend another 18-24 months getting your dolphins and then post comments on how stupid officers are and how the QM’s really drive the boat. While the Officers and senior enlisted of the SF clearly made some crucial mistakes, Nuke officers are among the most competent folks around (as are many of the enlisted men).