Cmdr. Thomas Winter, skipper of the submarine Montpelier (pictured below), was relieved of duty on Friday. Winter’s removal comes almost three months after the sub he was commanding collided with the Aegis cruiser USS San Jacinto off the coast of northeastern Florida. The collision occurred during a training exercise and while the submarine was submerged at periscope depth. No injuries were reported.
An investigation into the October 13 collision concluded:
“The principal cause of the collision was human error, poor teamwork by the Montpelier watch team, and the commanding officer’s failure to follow established procedures for submarines operating at periscope depth.”
Furthermore, the investigation detailed unspecified “contributing factors” related to oversight and training within Fleet Forces Command.
A US Navy news release reports that Capt. Blake Converse, commander of Submarine Squadron Six, relieved Winter “due to a loss of confidence” in his ability to command.
Fleet Forces spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Brian Badura confirmed the collision and subsequent investigation will lead to “a review of training structures and preparation for exercises involving submarines and surface ships.” All staff will be trained based on lessons learned from the collision, added Badura.
The submarine commander removed from duty will be replaced by Cmdr. Stephen Mongold. Winter will be on administrative duty at Submarine Force Atlantic in Norfolk.
The commanding officer of the USS San Jacinto, the other vessel involved in the collision, will not face disciplinary action.