"LOSS OF CONFIDENCE" CITED AS REASON
SUBMARINE SKIPPER FIRED - CMDR CHARLES HILL
OF USS WEST VIRGINIA GETS THE SACK
FOR "POOR COMMAND CLIMATE" AND WHAT NAVY
SAYS WAS "SIGNIFICANT RETENTION ISSUES"
SOURCES SAY HILL LOST RESPECT OF XO, CHIEF
OF BOAT AND LARGE PART OF CREW - TROUBLE
TOOK PLACE ON SUB C.O.'S FIRST PATROL
Look after your crew, and they will look after you," goes the old saying.
Apparently CMDR Charles Hill wanted to play "Capt. Bligh" instead, and so alienated his crew - from the XO and chief of the boat on down - that the Navy had no choice but to sack him when he brought the sub USS West Virginia back from his first patrol.
There was no "mutiny" on board, but browbeating the crew and giving all hands less than secure confidence that the skipper was wired tight, got Hill in big trouble.
It's likely his Naval career is over, after being relieved of command shortly after returning from his first deployment.
The official reason given was Hill fostered a "poor command climate" and by his actions, "caused significant retention issues" to arise.
The Ohio-class sub, which carries 24 Trident II nuclear missles is based at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga. and returned from the sea in November.
Whatever happened on the boat, and some sources say Hill was practically drooling at the con, was so bad the Navy moved fast to remove the offending officer.
SACKED SKIPPER WON'T GET TO COMMAND A SUB AGAIN
A spokesperson says Hill has been temporarily assigned to Sub Squadron 20 at Kings Bay until it's decided what to do with him.
The former skipper, a native of Alabama, came up through the ROTC system - no Academy "ring-knocker" he - and served aboard both the fast-attack submarine Cheyenne from 1998 - 2001 and the Rhode Island between 2003 and 2005.
Hill got his third stripe in June of 2006 and exactly two years later, was posted to the West Virginia. He lasted as "number one" for just five months.
What happened on the sub "had nothing to do with the nuclear reactor and at no point was the West Virginia or public in any danger," a Navy flak said. Hmmmm.
They must be mindful of the well-known movie "Crimson Tide" where actor Gene Hackman did a fantastic job of portraying a "flipped-out" captain with an itchy trigger finger.
We've known a few megalomaniacs in our time, besides obnoxious Donald Rumsfeld and that odious war profiteer Dick Cheney. They were mostly Army colonels and generals who thought they could walk all over their troops and get away with it.
They didn't. And it looks like CMDR Hill won't be getting another sea-going assignment any time soon.