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Navy relieves Pearl Harbor commander and top sailor

May 2, 2012
By AUDREY McAVOY , The Associated Press

HONOLULU - The Navy has relieved the commander of the Pearl Harbor-based nuclear-powered submarine USS Columbia of his command on the grounds that he displayed inadequate leadership, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The Navy also relieved the ship's top enlisted sailor of his duties.

Cmdr. Dennis Klein and Master Chief Petty Officer Don Williams were relieved due to a loss of confidence in their abilities to serve effectively, said Cmdr. Christy Hagen, the spokeswoman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet's submarine force.

Klein displayed inadequate leadership and oversight of his crew, while Williams failed to provide the leadership and backup required of his position as chief of the boat, she said.

"The relief was not made based on a one-time incident. It was based after a series of observations and assessments that over time led leadership to lose confidence in their abilities to hold command positions, hold positions of command authority," she said.

Both men have been temporarily reassigned.

Capt. Dennis Boyer, the deputy commander of Submarine Squadron 7, has assumed command of the ship.

The submarine and its crew are currently in Pearl Harbor for maintenance and training. The Columbia returned from a deployment to the western Pacific area in December.

Hagen said there won't be an investigation because the relief was not related to a behavioral issue that would require one.

In cases like this, the Navy generally conducts an administrative review to determine whether an individual's record should say he or she was detached for cause. Cases go to the Navy Personnel Command before anything like that is put into a sailor's record.



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