Skipper Of Sub Involved In Fatal Incident Relieved Of Command

January 20th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Skipper Of Sub Involved In Fatal Incident Relieved Of Command

Norfolk Virginian-Pilot
January 20, 2007
By Jack Dorsey, The Virginian-Pilot
NORFOLK - The captain of the Norfolk-based attack submarine Minneapolis-St. Paul was relieved of command Friday, three days after he received a punitive letter of reprimand in connection with an incident at sea that killed two sailors.
Vice Adm. Chuck Munns, commander of the Submarine Force here, relieved Cmdr. Edwin Ruff and reassigned him to the staff of the commander of Submarine Squadron Six in Norfolk, the Navy said.
Munns acted because of "loss of confidence" in Ruff's ability to command, said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Loundermon, a spokesman for Munns. Before the incident, Ruff had been selected for promotion to the rank of captain.
On Dec. 29, Senior Chief Petty Officer Thomas Higgins, 45, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Holtz, 30, died after they were swept overboard in stormy seas as the submarine was leaving port near Plymouth, England.
The Navy announced Tuesday that a non judicial punishment hearing was held by Rear Adm. Jeff Fowler, commander of Submarine Group Eight in Naples, Italy, for five submariners in the Minneapolis-St. Paul's crew.
Ruff and the executive officer of the sub at the time of the in cident both received punitive letters of reprimand. Complaints against the other three sailors were dismissed.
The Navy has not released details of the charges or the exact reasons for the punishment.

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