Irony grips sub force command change
By William Cole
Advertiser Staff Writer
On a day when the U.S. Pacific Fleet's submarine force changed command and said goodbye to their beloved leader, the specter of the Greeneville tragedy just would not go away.
First there was the unspoken irony: The ceremony had been scheduled to be aboard the Greeneville but was switched after the accident, which claimed the lives of nine people aboard Japanese ship.
Capt. Robert Brandhuber, chief of staff of the submarine force, who served as master of ceremonies yesterday, was among those riding as a guest on the Greeneville when the accident occurred nine miles south of Diamond Head.
Retired Adm. Richard Macke, who asked that the trip be organized to accommodate civilian visitors, sat in the front row.
Key naval officers assembled yesterday with one notable exception.
Cmdr. Scott Waddle was absent. On Monday, Adm. Thomas Fargo found the Greeneville's former skipper guilty of dereliction of duty and subjecting a vessel to a hazard.
Konetzni, a mentor of Waddle's, has been nominated for promotion to vice admiral and assignment as chief of staff and deputy commander of the U.S. Atlantic Fleets headquartered in Norfolk, Va.
"It's easy to watch the thousands of talking heads on various news shows and it's easy to talk about what goes on in the arena if you're not in it," he told the assembled visitors. "You don't, because you are there making history and waging a battle that puts your lives at stake, a battle to maintain global peace and stability."
Fargo, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, made a reference to the Ehime Maru: "It's been difficult for us, I think, because we know we are better than this. We don't expect these kinds of mistakes to be made and we have a hard time believing they could."