USS San Francisco SSN-711
(news articles and photos of the January 8, 2005 grounding)

USS San Francisco Runs Aground off Guam

January 8, 2005
( From U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class submarine USS San Francisco (SSN 711) ran aground while conducting submerged operations approximately 350 miles south of the island of Guam today.

The incident occurred at approximately 4 p.m., Jan. 7, Hawaii Standard Time (12 noon, Jan. 8, Guam Time).

The extent of the injuries and damage aboard San Francisco is still being assessed, but includes one critical injury and several other lesser injuries. The submarine is on the surface and is making best speed back to its homeport in Guam.

There were no reports of damage to the reactor plant which is operating normally.

Military and Coast Guard aircraft are enroute to monitor and assist in the situation.

Further releases and announcements will be made as information becomes available.

For further updates and information, please contact the U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs Office at
(808) 471-3769.

Navy confirms 20 sailors injured aboard U.S.S. San Francisco
Story by Zita Taitano
January 9, 2005

The running aground of the U.S.S. San Francisco about 350 miles to the south of Guam on Saturday afternoon resulted in 20 injured sailors. The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine was conducting submerged operations when the incident occurred. U.S. Navy spokesperson Lieutenant Arwen Consaul confirms the sailors were injured, one of which critically so, and that they are being treated by medical personnel onboard the submarine.

It also appears more help is on the way thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard. Spokesperson Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson of the Coast Guard District 14 Public Affairs Office in Hawaii says the USCG Cutter Galveston Island is on its way to the submarine with a team of medical personnel to help treat the injured sailors. "The Coast Guard's priority is safety at sea and its ability to respond is our priority and we're happy that we could help when our assistance was needed," said Johnson.

Meanwhile an investigation is ongoing as to how and why the submarine ran aground. The U.S. Navy's main concern at this time are the injured sailors and that the submarine makes it way back to Guam as safely as possible. The submarine, homeported in Guam since December 2002, staffed by a crew of 137 sailors, is among three fast-attack submarines of the U.S. Naval Forces Marianas Submarine Squadron 15.

The other two submarines homeported in the territory are the U.S.S. Corpus Christi and the U.S.S. Houston.
Reprinted with the permission of KUAM News
© 2005 KUAM all rights reserved

USS San Francisco Arrives Safely in Guam
January 10, 2005 U.S. Navy story
From U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class submarine USS San Francisco (SSN 711) arrived safely in Guam the afternoon of Jan. 10 Guam time (all following dates Guam time) following a Jan. 7 grounding accident at sea, approximately 350 nautical miles south of Guam.

Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Joseph Allen Ashley, 24, of Akron, Ohio, died Jan. 9 from injuries suffered during the accident. Twenty-three other Sailors were treated by medical teams dispatched out to the submarine for a range of injuries, including broken bones, lacerations, bruises and a back injury. The submarine had a crew of 137 at the time of the incident.

The Navy continues to offer its sincerest condolences and prayers to the family and friends of Ashley.

The Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349), USNS Stockham (T-AK 3017) and USNS Kiska (T-AE 35), as well as MH-60S Knighthawks from Guam-based Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 5 and P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft from Commander, Task Force 72 assisted the submarine's return.

The Navy is investigating the cause and circumstances of the incident.

Further questions may be referred to the U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs Office at (808)471-3769.

U.S.S. San Francisco returns, Navy releases late sailor's identity
January 10, 2005
Story by Ken Wetmore

The U.S.S. San Francisco is back home after a deadly crash at sea. The nuclear submarine ran aground Saturday afternoon about 350 miles to the south of Guam. The San Francisco limped into Apra Harbor under her own power at about 3 this afternoon.

While the damage from Saturday's grounding is not immediately evident, there did appear to be a forward list as she sailed past the breakwater. The true damages though are the ones that you couldn't see.

Below decks 23 sailors have injuries ranging from broken bones to lacerations to whiplash, and a number of the rest of the crew have scrapes and bruises. And most tragically, 24-year-old Machinist Mate 2nd Class Joseph Allen Ashley lost his life.

Pacific Submarine Support Force spokesperson Lt. Commander Jeff Davis says the petty officer, whose hometown is listed as Akron, Ohio, was standing watch in an engineering compartment when the accident happened and sustained significant trauma to the head, resulting in his death on Sunday. The Navy spokesperson says the accident has impacted the submarine community.

"This is felt in submarines all over the world, and not just our Navy but a lot of the foreign navy's we work with are grieving over; it was a terrible tragedy and it was a terrible accident and we're going to do everything we can to make sure it never happens again," he told KUAM News.

While Machinist Mate 2nd Class Ashley has no relatives on Guam, a number of the other crew members do and their families lined the Sierra Dock at Apra Harbor to see their loved ones arrive. Lt. Commander Davis says the families have been kept up to speed with how their loved ones are doing and says the Navy will not just tend those who were physically injured. Said Lt. Commander Davis, "Anytime you have a tragedy of this nature aboard a submarine we want to do everything we can to take care of our family, our Navy family aboard and we have chaplains, we have people who are trained counselors who will be taken aboard and be given a chance to meet with the crew and help them through this grieving process."

Details on how the accident occurred are still sketchy. While Commander Davis says the accident occurred about 350 miles south of Guam in the Caroline Ridge, he would not release the speed the submarine was traveling at, or its depth. And Commander Davis wouldn't speculate on how an accident like this could happen. He was emphatic however, when speaking of what the sub hit.

When asked if there was any indication that it might have been another submarine or another vessel, Commander Davis said, "No...there's absolutely no reason to believe that it was anything other than a geographical feature under water."

This afternoon Lt. Commander Davis said the Navy plans to conduct a thorough investigation so that "a tragedy like this never happens again." The Caroline Ridge is east of Palau and Yap, intersecting the Yap Trench from the east, and consisting of a chain of seamounts.

Reprinted with the permission of KUAM News
© 2005 KUAM all rights reserved

Nearly all sailors injured aboard USS San Francisco treated
and released from hospital
January 11, 2005
Story by Ken Wetmore

Of the 23 injured sailors aboard the USS San Francisco, all but three have been treated and released from Naval Hospital in Agana Heights. COMNARMAR spokesperson Lt. Arwen Consaul says the three who remain in the hospital are listed in stable condition, and at least one will be released tomorrow.

The 23 were injured saturday when the San Francisco ran aground about 350 miles south of Guam while conducting submerged exercises on her way to a port call in Australia. Machinist Mate 2nd Class Joseph Ashley of Ohio lost his life in the accident and today Pacific Submarine Force spokesperson Lt. Commander Jeff Davis said a memorial service has tentatively been scheduled for this Thursday at COMNAVMAR.

Lt. Commander Davis says further details have yet to be finalized.

As for the damages sustained to the San Franscico, the Pacific Submarine Force spokesperson says crews have been going over the submarine since last night and the Navy is still evaluating the full extent of damages. Lt. Commander Davis would not comment on what damages have been sustained, only saying there has been significant damage to the front of the submarine. He says once the Navy determines all the damages they will come up with a plan of action for repairing the San Francisco and at that time will determine where the repairs will be done.

In the meantime, the New York Times and MSNBC have reported unnamed Navy officials have told them the San Francisco was submerged more than 400 feet below the surface and traveling at around 30 knots when the accident occurred. MSNBC reported that their sources say the submarine's sonar systems were damaged in the collision and the New York Times reports one officer saying some of the ships ballast tanks that are needed to resurface were damaged, making keeping the submarine afloat initially "very touch and go".

Lt. Commander Davis refused to confirm the information found in either report.
Reprinted with the permission of KUAM News
© 2005 KUAM all rights reserved

Shipmates says farewell to fallen USS San Francisco
sailor Joseph Ashley
January 13, 2005
Story by Ken Wetmore

The remains of Machinist Mate 2nd Class Joseph Allen Ashley will be flown to his hometown of Akron, Ohio on Friday. The 24-year-old died Sunday from injuries sustained a day before when the U.S.S. San Francisco ran aground about 350 miles south of Guam during a submerged operation.

Today, Petty Officer Ashley's shipmates and friends on Guam gathered at Big Navy's base chapel to say goodbye.

The chapel was packed - standing room only, according to Navy officials, who provided KUAM News with a tape containing portions of the service. We were also able to interview some of Petty Officer Ashley's shipmates.

You may never have met petty Joseph Ashley, but if you had you would have liked him - a lot. That is the unanimous feeling from the shipmates of Petty Officer Ashley we spoke with today. Shipmates like Lieutenant Junior Grade Josh Chisholm, who is a chemistry/radiological assistant aboard the U.S.S. San Francisco. He remembered of his friend, "He always brought a smile to everyone's face when he was around just positive upbeat attitude and very competent individual. As an officer standing watch, for us he was someone you knew you could trust who you knew would do the right thing."

Command Master Chief Bill Cramer is the senior enlisted officer aboard the San Francisco, and says he and Petty Officer Ashley immediately bonded, as they are both from Ohio. "He loved being on the San Francisco," Cramer said, "he loved being a country boy as he put, his nickname was 'General Cooter' on board the ship."

During today's memorial service, it was Petty Officer Ashley's nickname, derived from the TV show "The Duke's of Hazzard" and his love of all things southern that brought laughter through the tears. Commander Kevin Mooney, captain of the San Francisco, delivered Ashley's eulogy at today's service, recalling a time when he was using an analogy during a pep talk to the crew. In the analogy, he likened himself to a general, to which the sailors quickly told their commander that there was already a general aboard the San Francisco.

He recalled, "That revelation began a special relationship between Petty Officer Ashley and me. He soon became the only sailor on board who did not address me as 'captain'. Instead, we simply addressed each other as 'general'."

Commander Mooney said Petty Officer Ashley lived every day to the fullest and left a legacy of dedicated service any man could be proud of. "In closing, I will now give my last order to Machinist Mate 2nd Class Joseph Allen Ashley - sailor, rest your oars," he tearfully announced.

As for Petty Officer Ashley's shipmates, the crash and the loss of a friend and comrade has not caused them to rest their oars. Command Master Chief Cramer says the day after the San Francisco limped back into port, most of his sailors mustered on the pier even though they weren't required to, ready to go back to work. He says many of the men who were thinking of getting out of the Navy have decided to stay a while longer because of the bond forged through the ordeal.

When asked if he could speculate what Petty Office Ashley would say about the San Francisco's mission, if he could know what happened, he immediately responded. "Get'er done," said Cramer of Ashley's attitude and work ethic. "That's what he would say...get'er done."

One other neat little tidbit about Petty Officer Ashley was that he loved to write poetry, which he would frequently e-mail to his shipmates. Today, one of his shipmates wrote the following poem for his fallen brother:

Southern Pride: Ode to the Gen'ral

I write this for a man I know.
You all should know him well.
We call him Gen'ral Cooter and
this here's the tale I tell:
The only Gen'ral that I know
who sailed the ocean blue
Aboard a mighty submarine
Ole Cooter'd lead us if
The South should rise again,
And Rebel pride would flourish strong
In all the men he knew,
Cause nothin' mattered much on race
As Cooter's army grew.
One day he gathered with his men;
His shipmates of the sea,
And leave home, they set on out,
A foreign port to see.
The mighty Captain welcomed them,
Beneath the waves they flew
With shellbacks there, and pollywogs
And Cooter's army grew.
Through many missions, tests, and trials
The mighty ship prevailed
Her warriors would prove their worth
Wherever she was sailed.
The best damn boat in all the fleet,
And all the sailors knew
The Captain had the finest men
Cause Cooters Army grew.
But an underwater mountain
Did cause the ship to wreck,
And all those roughneck salts onboard
Were flung on to the deck.
The Gen'ral could not rise again,
Soon ev'rybody knew.
We did our best to save his life,
And Cooter's army grew.
The Captain stood there by his side
And bid him stay and fight.
Some re-enforcements would arrive
If he could make the night.
And prayers abounded with support
From all the loyal crew
They rallied strength and gathered hope
And Cooter's army grew.
We found some good ole country songs
To ease his pain away,
But with Hank Jr. playin' loud
Ole Cooter slipped away,
And following the midday sun
He left our battered crew.
The Gen'ral soldiers mourned his loss,
But Cooter's army grew.
And as we laid him down to rest,
We held his banner high,
And heard a hoot and holler from
Those Rebels in the sky.
And as the good Lord took him in,
He kept our Gen'ral true.
The angels came to march with him,
And Cooter's army grew.

B.A. Dirksen

Reprinted with the permission of KUAM News
© 2005 KUAM all rights reserved

USS San Francisco Skipper Reassigned Pending Investigation
January 20, 2005 U.S. Navy story
From Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, has directed Jan. 20 that the commanding officer of USS San Francisco (SSN 711), Cmdr. Kevin Mooney, be reassigned pending the results of an investigation into the sub's grounding during operations in the Western Pacific Ocean.

Mooney is reassigned to Submarine Squadron 15, based in Guam, pending the results of an investigation to determine the cause of the sub's grounding Jan. 8 that resulted in the death of one Sailor and injuries to 23 others.

Cmdr. Andrew Hale, Submarine Squadron 15 deputy commander, will assume the duties as commanding officer of San Francisco.

San Francisco Skipper Relieved of Command
February 12, 2005 U.S. Navy story
From U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, relieved Cmdr. Kevin Mooney of his command of USS San Francisco (SSN 711) Feb. 12. The decision to relieve Cmdr. Mooney was made following non-judicial punishment (NJP) proceedings held in Yokosuka, Japan. Additionally, as a result of the NJP, Mooney received a Letter of Reprimand.

Following the submarine striking an underwater seamount Jan. 8, Greenert reassigned Mooney to the staff of Commander, Submarine Squadron 15, based in Guam. During the conduct of the investigation into this incident, it became clear to Greenert that several critical navigational and voyage planning procedures were not being implemented aboard San Francisco. By not ensuring these standard procedures were followed, Mooney hazarded his vessel.

One Sailor died and several were injured as a result of the grounding during operations in the Western Pacific Ocean. Of 137 aboard, 98 Sailors experienced some injury, and 23 were injured seriously enough that they were unable to stand duty during the sub's transit back to Guam.

Cmdr. Andrew Hale, deputy commander, Submarine Squadron 15, has assumed the duties as commanding officer of San Francisco.

Navy Cites 20 For Efforts To Save Sub
March 29, 2005
Story by Robert Hamilton

The Navy has presented medals or letters of commendations to 20 crewmen whose actions helped the USS San Francisco make it home after the submarine hit a seamount Jan. 8.

The highest awards, the Navy's Meritorious Service Medal, went to Hospitalman 1st Class James H. Akin, the ship's "doc," and Lt. j.g. Craig E. Litty for organizing the crew's mess into an emergency trauma center and providing triage to more than 70 injured sailors over two days.

"When initial medical supplies were expended, (they) devised innovative methods to provide continued oxygen and other first aid treatment," the citation reads. The citation also credited their "accurate diagnoses of injuries and exacting recommendations" for treatment.

Meanwhile, the captain of a submarine being decommissioned at Norfolk (Va.) Naval Shipyard will be transferred to Guam to take command of the San Francisco, Navy sources said.

Cmdr. Kevin Brenton, skipper of the USS Portsmouth during its final Western Pacific deployment in 2003 and 2004 and during its participation in Exercise Northern Edge in the Gulf of Alaska last year, will become the new captain of the San Francisco. He will replace interim commanding officer Cmdr. Andrew Hale, who was deputy commander of Submarine Squadron 15 before he assumed duties as San Francisco's commanding officer after the accident.

The San Francisco was making a trip to Australia when it slammed into a seamount in an area where official Navy charts list 6,000 feet of water. Despite extensive damage to the ship, the crew got it to the surface and kept it floating long enough to limp back to its homeport of Apra Harbor, Guam.

Machinist Mate 3rd Class Joseph Ashley was killed when he was thrown more than 20 feet and struck his head on a large pump. Almost two dozen others were injured so badly they could not perform their duties, though within days most were treated and released from the hospital in Guam. Most of the crew were treated for some injury.

The captain was found guilty of putting the ship in danger at an admiral's mast last month, and relieved of command. Last week, six more crewmen were cited for putting the ship into danger or dereliction of duty, and received punishments that included demotions and letters of reprimand.

The awards ceremony Friday recognized the actions of the crewmen who saved the ship after the accident, including nine men who received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. They were:

. Lt. Jeff M. McDonald, cited for a "flawless weapons off-load" in the wake of the accident, including removing two torpedoes that were in the bow tubes and had to be taken out with emergency handling procedures, and later handling the first submarine drydocking in Guam in more than 15 years.

. Senior Chief Machinist's Mate Danny R. Hager, who directed the stabilization of the ship on the surface and, though injured himself, designed a temporary oxygen system from the ship's oxygen banks to provide oxygen to more seriously wounded crewmen. He also was credited with advising the captain on how to operate some of the damaged systems to get the ship back to Guam.

. Sonar Technician 1st Class Christopher L. Baumhoff, cited for recognizing that Ashley's best hope lay in outside medical care, at which point he and Machinist Mate 2nd Class Gilbert L. Daigle, who also was presented with the medal, planned and set up the equipment for a hazardous open ocean personnel transfer.

. Culinary Specialists 2nd Class Jeremy Y. Key and David J. Miller, and Electronics Technicians 2nd Class Scott M. Pierce and 1st Class Bryan C. Powell, and Yeoman 2nd Class Carnell L. Smoot, cited for their work to convert the crew's mess into a trauma center, helping with first aid, and volunteering to assist in getting Ashley off the ship for medical attention.

Four other crewmen were awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for their actions after the accident: Chief Electronics Technician Maximum L. Chia; Chief Machinist's Jacob M. Elder; and Machinist's Mates 2nd Class Ian P. Cross and Matthew R. Thurman

A letter of commendation from Rear Adm. David Gove, commander of Submarine Group Seven, went to Electrician's Mate 1st Class Joshua D. Barrow; Machinist's Mate 1st Class Richard T. Bolton; Fire Control Technician 1st Class Scott C. Deranleau; Machinists Mate 1st Class Benjamin J. Sidwell; and Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Joseph D. Anderson. 

Reprinted with the permission of Day Publishing
© Day Publishing 2005 All Rights Reserved

Repairs made to USS San Francisco's bow
May 7, 2005
Story by Mindy Fothergill

$11 million in repairs and costs are still adding up. Repairs have been made to the USS San Francisco's bow. Navy spokesperson Lieutenant Arwen Consaul says a new large steel dome about 20 feet high was put in place of the damaged one. The submarine remains at the dry dock for more repairs.

The nuclear-powered fast attack submarine ran aground 350 miles south of Guam back in January, killing one crewmember and injuring 23. Lt. Consaul says the repair and damage assessment has been completed and temporary repairs to the bow provide adequate structural integrity and proper buoyancy for transit under her own power to a shipyard. That location has yet to be determined.

The Navy has yet to make any decisions about when the submarine will depart, where it will go, or what the final disposition will be. Lt. Consaul says the Navy is still trying to determine the next course of action for the Los Angeles-class submarine and her crew. Total costs so far are about $11 million, with more work estimated at $7.5 million.

While officials haven't determined where repairs to the rest of the submarine will be made, officials confirm the work will not happen at the Guam Shipyard because the repairs needed for the ship are more extensive than the shipyard's capabilities.

Reprinted with the permission of KUAM News
© 2005 KUAM all rights reserved

Navy investigation determines USS San Francisco's crash
could have been avoided
May 8, 2005
Story by Sabrina Salas Matanane

The investigation into the grounding of the USS San Francisco has been released to the public by the US Pacific Fleet, based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The nuclear-powered submarine ran into a seamount on January 8, killing Machinist Mate 2nd class Joseph Allen Ashley and injuring more than 90 other sailors.

According to the investigation findings, the submarine collision could have been avoided.

A 147-page report into the fatal grounding of the San Francisco at the beginning of the year points to the submarine's top leaders and watch team's failing to develop and execute a safe voyage plan for its mission and its crew. The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine was submerged at a depth of 525 feet and transiting at maximum speed when it hit a seamount near the Caroline Islands.

The 24-year-old Ashley, of Akron Ohio, died from the collision and another 97 of the 137 crewmembers reported injuries ranging from minor bruising and muscle strains to two who suffered dislocated shoulders. According to the report; Ashley's head injury was inevitably critical. His death and the injury of the other crewmembers were in the line of duty and not due to misconduct.

The findings however did find misconduct with the leadership of the submarine.

The report stated about the commanding officer of the San Francisco, "He [Commander Kevin Mooney] chose to operate the USS San Francisco at maximum speed with no navigation risk mitigation measures in effect, despite several islands, atolls and rapidly shoaling areas in the vicinity of the ship's intended track. Further, he chose not to take precautions such as stationing additional navigation watch standards, establishing limits on speed and depth, and reducing the navigational sounding interval. Had the commanding officer instituted specified operational procedures and exercised prudent navigation practices, the grounding, even if not avoid altogether, would have been significantly less severe."

The report stated neither the commanding officer nor his navigation team exercised due care. As for why the seamount did not appear on the chart the navigation team was using, according to the report, they failed to examine all charts that were available and on board the submarine. Said the report, "Charts and supporting documentation products aboard the USS San Francisco were sufficient to identify navigation hazards along, and adjacent to the ship's intended track. Continuous and complete reliance on the accuracy and fidelity of a single navigation chart, when other charts with critical information were readily available, led to this grounding."

It was a month after the collision that Commander Mooney was relieved of his command of the San Francisco, and in March six crewmembers were punished. None were identified for privacy reasons, but they included enlisted, senior enlisted and an officer. The punishments included reduction in rate and punitive letters of reprimand.
The damage to the San Francisco was estimated at $88 million, and the submarine remains in dry dock in Apra Harbor under repair.

Reprinted with the permission of KUAM News
© 2005 KUAM all rights reserved

USS San Francisco Investigation Completed
By U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- The submarine USS San Francisco struck an undersea mountain about 360 miles southeast of its Guam homeport Jan. 8 because its leaders and watchteams failed to develop and execute a safe voyage plan, the command investigation into the incident concluded.

"The findings of fact show that San Francisco (SSN 711), while transiting at flank (maximum) speed and submerged to 525 feet, hit a seamount that did not appear on the chart being used for navigation," the 124-page report said of the incident in the vicinity of the Caroline Islands.

"Other charts in San Francisco's possession did, however, clearly display a navigation hazard in the vicinity of the grounding," it said. "San Francisco's navigation team failed to review those charts adequately and transfer pertinent data to the chart being used for navigation, as relevant directives and the ship's own procedures required.

"If San Francisco's leaders and watchteams had complied with requisite procedures and exercised prudent navigation practices, the grounding would most likely have been avoided. Even if not wholly avoided, however, the grounding would not have been as severe and loss of life may be been prevented."

Machinist Mate 2nd Class Joseph Allen Ashley, 24, of Akron, Ohio, died aboard the submarine Jan. 9 from an "inevitably fatal" severe head injury sustained during the accident.

"Earlier evacuation or arrival of medical officers would not have changed the outcome for (Petty Officer) Ashley" the investigation said of the two additional medical personnel flown aboard by helicopter and two attempts to medically evacuate him by helicopter.

Another 97 of 137 crewmembers reported injuries ranging from minor bruising and muscle strains to two who suffered dislocated shoulders. Sixty-eight of them were evaluated and treated onboard, while the remaining 29 were treated at Naval Hospital Guam when San Francisco returned to port under its own power Jan. 10. Just three of them were admitted overnight for further evaluation and treatment.

As a result of the collision, U.S. 7th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert relieved Cmdr. Kevin Mooney of his command of USS San Francisco Feb. 12 following non-judicial punishment proceedings in Yokosuka, Japan. Mooney also received a letter of reprimand.

But Greenert, in his endorsement of the investigation, also praised Mooney's prior record and performance following the impact.

"Although the grounding incident compelled me to punish (him) and remove him from command, in my opinion it does not negate 19 years of exemplary service," the admiral wrote. "Prior to the grounding incident, USS San Francisco demonstrated a trend of continuing improvement and compiled an impressive record of achievement under (Mooney's) leadership. Moreover, the crew's post-grounding response under his direct leadership was commendable and enabled (the sub's) recovery and safe return to port."

Greenert also criticized the executive officer and navigation team for their share of the responsibility, saying their "failure to adequately and critically review applicable publications and available charts led to submission of an ill-advised voyage plan and hindered the commanding officer's ability to make fully informed safety-of-ship decisions."

Six crewmembers were punished March 22 by Capt. Bradley Gehrke, commander of Submarine Squadron 15 on Guam, to which San Francisco was assigned. None were identified due to privacy reasons, but they included enlisted, senior enlisted and officer. The punishments included reduction in rate and punitive letters of reprimand.

USS San Francisco remains in drydock in Apra Harbor, Guam, under repair

June 4, 2004 USS San Francisco SSN-711 arriving at Guam after a 5 month deployment.


January 26, 2005 USS San Francisco SSN-711 In dry dock "Big Blue" at Guam.


January 27, 2005 Damage to the bow of the USS San Francisco SSN-711.


January 27, 2005 Damage to the bow of the USS San Francisco SSN-711.


May 8, 2005 The steel dome in place on the bow of the USS San Francisco SSN-711.


San Francisco Commander Kevin Mooney