USS Greeneville (SSN-772)

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USS_Greeneville_(SSN-772).jpg
USS Greeneville off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Career USN Jack
Awarded: 14 December 1988
Laid down: 28 February 1992
Launched: 17 September 1994
Commissioned: 16 February 1996
Status: Template:Active in service
Homeport: Pearl Harbor
General Characteristics
Displacement: 6000 tons light, 6927 tons full, 927 tons dead
Length: 110.3 m (362 ft)
Beam: 10 m (33 ft)
Draft: 9.4 m (31 ft)
Propulsion: one S6G reactor
Complement: 12 officers, 98 men
Motto: Volunteers Defending Frontiers

USS Greeneville (SSN-772), a Los Angeles-class submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Greeneville, Tennessee. The contract to build her was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia, on 14 December 1988, and her keel was laid down on 28 February 1992. She was launched on 17 September 1994, sponsored by Tipper Gore, and commissioned on 16 February 1996, with Commander Duane B. Hatch in command.

Contents

The Ehime Maru incident

On 9 February 2001, while hosting a "Distinguished Visitor" cruise for several civilian guests, Greeneville conducted an Emergency Main Ballast Tank Blow, a dramatic maneuver that brings the boat to the surface so rapidly her bow rises high out of the water.

At about 1350 HST, Greeneville’s rapidly-rising stern struck the aft port quarter of Ehime Maru, a Japanese fishing and high school training vessel, operated by the Ehime Prefectural Uwajima Fishery High School. The upper blade of Greeneville’s rudder sliced through Ehime Maru’s engine room. Ehime Maru sank in less than ten minutes. Nine crewmembers of Ehime Maru drowned, including four high-school students.

USS Greeneville in dry dock following collision.
Enlarge
USS Greeneville in dry dock following collision.

Eight days after the sinking, 17 February, the Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) and Submarine Development Squadron 5 (SUBDEVRON 5) located Ehime Maru in 2000 ft (610 m) of water.

The Navy contracted the Dutch company Smit International and Crowley Maritime Corp., headquartered in Washington State, to salvage the wreck of Ehime Maru. It was lifted and carried, still submerged, closer to Oahu. On 14 October 2001, the wreck was set down in 115 ft (35 m) of water. This operation was the first time such a massive object was recovered intact from such a depth. On 15 October, the first team of divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1 (MDSU 1) began assessing the sunken vessel. Working in low-to-zero visibility conditions, divers from MDSU 1, aided by Japanese divers, conducted 534 dives over 29 days, searching the wreck. The divers recovered the bodies of eight of the nine missing crewmembers, many personal effects, and several items unique to the ship, such as its nameplate, bell, and helm.

On 25 November, Ehime Maru was again lifted, towed back out to sea, and scuttled in 8,500 ft (2,600 m) of water south of Barbers Point, witnessed by three of the crewmembers' families. The total cost of salvage operations was about US$60 million. A memorial in Hawaii to Ehime Maru and her dead has been constructed.

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Book cover of The Right Thing with U.S. President George W. Bush's praise: "This fine American patriot ... is taking the heat .. that says something about his character."
Commander Scott Waddle, who commanded Greeneville during the collision, accepted full responsibility for the incident, and was reprimanded, but Navy Officials decided against a court-martial and let him retired honorably with his rank and pension intact. He did not apologize to the victims' families at first because, citing his own words from a book titled The Right Thing published in 2003:
"One, the [Navy's] settlement process ... would have been interrupted. It was decided while I was on active duty before I retired in October of 2001 that visiting Japan was not in the best interest. After I retired in October, it took me some time to find employment. I finally found employment in August and from that time, the resources were not available to get me to Japan. But at the earliest opportunity I did make that trip when I could ..."

In his own book, printed by a religious publisher, Captain Waddle presented him as an honor Christian who choosed to face the torment rather than commiting suicide [1] (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/01/31/earlyshow/leisure/books/main538804.shtml).

Saipan incident

Meanwhile, on 27 August 2001, Greeneville ran aground while entering port in Saipan on a routine Western Pacific Deployment. The boat's underside, rudder, and secondary proplusion motor suffered minor damage; repairs required drydocking and a significant delay in the remainder of her deployment. The boat's commanding officer, Commander David Bogdan, was relieved of command, and the navigator and assistant navigator were also removed from their duties. In addition, the navigator and the sub's executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Gerald Pfieffer, were found guilty of "hazarding a vessel" during an admiral's mast, conducted by Rear Admiral Joseph Enright, Commander, Submarine Group Seven.

USS Ogden collision

Then on 27 January 2002, less than a year after colliding with Ehime Maru and exactly six months after running aground, Greeneville collided with USS Ogden (LPD-5) during a personnel transfer off the coast of Oman, opening a 5-by-18-inch hole in one of Ogden’s fuel tanks and spilling several thousand gallons (several m³) of fuel. After the collision, both vessels left the area under their own power.

After that year of accidents, Greeneville’s record slightly improved; on 9 July 2004, when Commander Lorin Selby relieved Commander Lee Hankins as commanding officer of Greeneville, Captain Cecil Haney, Commodore, Submarine Squadron One, stated that "The performance of USS Greeneville during Captain Hankins' tour has been nothing but remarkable. It has been marked by top grades in both tactical and engineering readiness. Lee Hankins was handpicked by our leadership for the job as CO of Greeneville. They got it right."

References

The article includes information from the Naval Vessel Register and various press releases.

See also

External links


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