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USS Oklahoma City Commander Relieved

Navy Newsstand

12/2/2002 4:28:00 PM

From U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

GAETA, Italy (NNS) -- Cmdr. Richard Voter, commanding officer of USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723), was relieved of command Nov. 30 in La Maddalena, Sardinia.

Rear Adm. Kirkland Donald, Commander, Submarine Group 8, took this action after reviewing the investigation into the collision between the submarine and a Norwegian commercial vessel Nov. 13. Donald ordered him to be relieved after he lost confidence in Voter's ability to command.

Voter, one other officer and two enlisted crew members were also disciplined in a non-judicial punishment proceeding Dec. 2. Charged with dereliction of duty, they each received punishment ranging from punitive letters of reprimand to reduction in rank. The officers were relieved of their duties and ordered to return to their parent squadron, Submarine Squadron 8, in Norfolk, Va. The enlisted crew members will remain aboard the submarine.

Capt. Howard Reese, Commander, Submarine Squadron 22, assumed command of Oklahoma City. Reese will turn command over to Cmdr. Ronald LaSalvia, Deputy Commander, Submarine Squadron 8 later this week.

Oklahoma City remains in port, undergoing repair at the Naval Support Activity, La Maddalena, Sardinia. The submarine suffered damage to its periscope and sail area. The submarine's propulsion system was not affected, and there were no injuries reported in this accident.

When repairs to the submarine are completed, the ship will undergo a recertification procedure to ensure the ship is ready to resume operations. Oklahoma City began a scheduled six-month deployment with the USS George Washington (CVN 73) Battle Group in June 2002.

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