Submarine Commander Is Relieved of Duty

Associated Press
Friday, October 26, 2007

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 25 -- The commanding officer of the nuclear-powered submarine USS Hampton was relieved of his duty Thursday because of a loss of confidence in his leadership, the Navy said.

The action against Cmdr. Michael B. Portland came after a Navy investigation found that submariners failed to do daily safety checks on the ship's nuclear reactor for a month and falsified records to cover up the omission.

"His oversight of the crew's performance did not identify these issues" without an outside inspection, said Navy Lt. Alli Myrick, a public affairs officer.

It appears from a preliminary investigation on the Hampton that sailors in Submarine Squadron 11 had skipped the required analysis of the chemical and radiological properties of the submarine's reactor for more than a month, even though a daily check is required.

The Hampton, a Los Angeles Class vessel, is the most advanced nuclear attack submarine in the world, carrying a torpedo, cruise missile and mine-laying arsenal, according to information on the Navy's Web site. The sub is docked in San Diego.

Myrick said Portland will be temporarily reassigned.

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