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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, March 21, 2001

Admirals to make recommendations on captain's fate

By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer

Now that the Navy's court of inquiry has ended after 12 days of testimony, three admirals who have been overseeing the proceedings now will begin reviewing evidence about what caused a Navy submarine to crash into a Japanese fishing boat off of Diamond Head last month.

The recommendations by the admirals who have presided over the court are expected within three weeks.

Their report will go to Adm. Thomas Fargo, the Pacific Fleet's commander, who convened the court of inquiry.

Fargo will then take an expected 30 days to decide what happens next to the Greeneville's captain, Cmdr. Scott Waddle, the sub's executive officer, Lt. Cmdr. Gerald Pfeifer, and the ship's officer of the deck, Lt. j.g. Michael Coen.

Fargo's recommendations can range from court martials to administrative punishment.

The admirals heard testimony from 33 witnesses, many of whom relived the events inside the Greeneville's control room for the six hours it set sail with 16 civilian passengers on board.

The president of the court, Vice Adm. John Nathman, closed the court's proceedings exactly as he began them March 5:

"The tragic consequences of this collision have impacted the lives of both Japanese and American families," Nathman said. "While this inquiry cannot change what has happened, a thorough understanding of what occurred on 9 February, 2001, can serve to prevent a similar tragedy."