Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

         1     DAY 12   SESSION 1     MARCH 20, 2001   8:00 a.m.
         2                           ---oOo---      
         3                     VADM NATHMAN:   This court is now in 
         4     session.  Counsel for the court. 
         5                     CAPT MACDONALD:   Let the record 
         6     reflect that all members, parties, and counsel are 
         7     again present.  Mr. President, we have two exhibits 
         8     to offer.  
         9           The first exhibit is procedural Exhibit, 
        10     Sierra.  And that is Admiral Fargo's denial of the 
        11     testimonial immunity request from Commander Waddle. 
        12           The second is exhibit Tango, which is the 
        13     Privacy Act Statement executed by Commander Waddle. 
        14                     VADM NATHMAN:   Counsel for the 
        15     court, procedural matters?
        16                     CAPT MACDONALD:   Sir, no more 
        17     procedural matters.
        18                     VADM NATHMAN:   Counsel for the 
        19     parties, procedural matters?
        20                     MR. GITTINS:   No procedures matters.
        21                     LCDR STONE:   No sir.
        22                     LCDR FILBERT:   No sir.
        23                     MR. GITTINS:   Sir, we want to thank 
        24     you for the opportunity to have time to prepare for 
        25     today.  At this time we call Commander Scott B Waddle 



         1     to provide testimony under oath. 
         2                     CAPT MACDONALD:   Sir, before we do 
         3     that, I am going to warn Commander Waddle of his 
         4     rights.  Do you wish me to do that outside of court 
         5     or within court?
         6                     MR. GITTINS:   I wish you to read 
         7     Commander Waddle his rights, in this courtroom, in 
         8     front of the public, sir.
         9                     CAPT MACDONALD:   Very well.          
        10           Commander Waddle, you are suspected of having 
        11     committed the following offenses under the UCMJ 
        12     violation of the UCMJ Article 92, Dereliction of 
        13     Duty.  
        14           Violation of UCMJ Article 110, Improper 
        15     Hazarding of a Vessel.  
        16           Article 134, Negligent Homicide. 
        17           You have the following rights.  You have the 
        18     right to remain silent.  Any statement you do make 
        19     maybe used as evidence against you in trial by 
        20     court-martial, but that any prior illegal admissions 
        21     or other improperly obtained evidence which 
        22     incriminated you cannot be used against you in a 
        23     trial by court-martial. 
        24           You have the right to consult with lawyer 
        25     counsel prior to any questioning.  This lawyer 



         1     counsel may be a civilian lawyer retained by you at 
         2     your own expense or a military lawyer appointed to 
         3     act as your counsel without cost to you, or both. 
         4           And you have the right to have such retained 
         5     civilian lawyer and/or appointed military lawyer 
         6     present during these proceedings. 
         7           Now, do you fully understand your rights as I 
         8     have explained them to you?
         9                     THE WITNESS:   I understand them 
        10     sir. 
        11                     VADM NATHMAN:   Counsel, you may 
        12     proceed.
        13     BY CAPT MACDONALD:   
        14     Q     Just a minute, sir, I need to go through the 
        15     waiver of rights. 
        16           Do you expressly desire to waive your right to 
        17     remain silent?
        18     A     I expressly desire to waive my right to remain 
        19     silent. 
        20     Q     Do you expressly desire to make a statement to 
        21     the court?
        22     A     I desire to make a statement to the court.
        23     Q     Have you had sufficient opportunity to consult 
        24     with Mr. Gittins and your military attorneys 
        25     appointed as your counsel?



         1     A     I have, sir. 
         2                     CAPT MACDONALD:   Is this waiver of 
         3     rights made freely and voluntarily by and without any 
         4     promises or threats having been made to you or 
         5     pressure or coercion of any kind having been used 
         6     against you? 
         7                     THE WITNESS:   It is, sir.
         8                     CAPT MACDONALD:     Okay.  Mr. 
         9     President, we are ready to proceed.
        10                     VADM NATHMAN:   Counsel. 
        11                     MR. GITTINS:   Call Commander 
        12     Waddle. 
        13                     CAPT MACDONALD:   Commander Waddle, 
        14     would you stand in the witness box, please, and raise 
        15     your right hand to be sworn. 
        16                COMMANDER SCOTT B. WADDLE SWORN
        17                     MR. GITTINS:   Scott, do you have a 
        18     statement you would like to make to this court of 
        19     inquiry?
        20                     THE WITNESS:   I do sir. 
        21                     MR. GITTINS:   Please provide your 
        22     statement to the court members. 
        23                     THE WITNESS:   Admiral Nathman, Rear 
        24     Admiral Sullivan, Rear Admiral Stone, as I indicated 
        25     publicly yesterday before court, I accept full 



         1     responsibility and accountability for the actions of 
         2     the crew of the USS Greenville on 9 February 2001. 
         3           As a commanding officer, I am solely 
         4     responsible for this truly tragic accident, and for 
         5     the rest of my life, I will live with the horrible 
         6     consequences of my decisions and actions that 
         7     resulted in the loss of the Ehime Maru and nine of 
         8     its crew, instructors, and students. 
         9           I am truly sorry for the loss of life and for 
        10     the incalculable grief that those losses caused the 
        11     honorable families of those lost at sea. 
        12           I have always assumed that the purpose of this 
        13     investigation would be to ascertain the cause of this 
        14     accident for the Navy, for the submarine force, and 
        15     most importantly, for the families of those lost on 
        16     the Motor Vessel Ehime Maru.  To that end, I have 
        17     always been willing to provide the information I 
        18     possessed about this accident, consistent with 
        19     protecting my legal rights and my family's future. 
        20           I understand the realities of this accident and 
        21     the substantial international and diplomatic 
        22     implications it has had on the United States 
        23     bilateral relations with Japan.  Prime Minister 
        24     Mori's visit today could not make those 
        25     considerations more plain. 



         1           I am also aware and understand the real 
         2     potential that those political and diplomatic 
         3     pressures might exert on the military justice system 
         4     where those decisions are made at very senior 
         5     levels. 
         6           Therefore, on the advice of my three very 
         7     competent and qualified counsel, I requested 
         8     tetimonial immunity from Admiral Fargo to assure a 
         9     full, fair, thorough, and complete investigation of 
        10     preserving my rights and taking reasonable 
        11     precautions in the event the international and 
        12     political environment dictated that I be sacrificed 
        13     to an unwarranted court-martial. 
        14           I have been informed by counsel that this 
        15     court's recommendation was that the testimonial 
        16     immunity should be denied for me because my testimony 
        17     "is not essential or material to the conclusion of 
        18     the court's investigation."
        19           Counsel has informed me that since you consider 
        20     my testimony unnecessary, that I should not provide 
        21     it.  I have, however, decided with the advice of my 
        22     counsel that your determination that my testimony is 
        23     not essential or material is wrong.  And I have 
        24     decided to testify under oath, subject to 
        25     cross-examination. 



         1           When I was assigned as a commanding officer and 
         2     as commanding officer of the USS Greenville, I 
         3     assumed an awesome responsibility.  I have no less of 
         4     a responsibility to stand up and explain the exercise 
         5     of my judgment as commanding officer and I am 
         6     prepared to do so.  
         7           I have given my entire adult life to the Navy.  
         8     I have served the Navy faithfully and honestly for my 
         9     entire Navy career, including the day 9 February 
        10     2001.  I have done my duty to the best of my 
        11     ability.  I am truly sorry for this accident, and the 
        12     loss of life that it caused on the 9th of February.  
        13     I was trying my best to do the job that I had been 
        14     assigned. 
        15           I made a mistake or mistakes.  Those mistakes 
        16     were honest and well-intentioned.  I am truly sorry 
        17     for this accident.  It has been a tragedy for the 
        18     families of those lost, for the crew of the USS 
        19     Greenville, for their families, for the submarine 
        20     force, for me, and for my family. 
        21           I understand by speaking now I may be 
        22     forfeiting my ability to successfully defend myself 
        23     at a court-martial.  This court and the families need 
        24     to hear from me, despite the personal legal prejudice 
        25     to me, and because it is the right thing to do. 



         1           Gentleman, I am prepared to answer your 
         2     questions and address your concerns. 
         3                     VADM NATHMAN:   You have no 
         4     questions, counsel?
         5                     MR. GITTINS:   No, sir.
         6                     CAPT MACDONALD:   Admiral Stone. 
         7                     EXAMINATION BY RDML STONE:  
         8     Q     Good morning, Commander Waddle. 
         9     A     Good morning, Admiral. 
        10     Q     I am very pleased to see that you are -- you 
        11     are testifying this morning because as you stated, 
        12     the accountability of a commanding officer to step 
        13     forward and tell the truth, regardless of the 
        14     consequences, is an important concept of command.     
        15           And so by us being able to ask these questions 
        16     and get to the commanding officer's perspective I 
        17     think will be quite helpful. 
        18           I am going to start on one of the basic 
        19     fundamentals of command when we go to sea and talk to 
        20     you a little bit about the watch bill.  So I would 
        21     ask that court counsel, if you would put the watch 
        22     bill up for 9 February, I think our questioning here 
        23     will help us uncover some perspective on your 
        24     thoughts on watch bill accountability so that future 
        25     commanding officers also can clean some lessons from 



         1     this tragic accident. 
         2           Do you agree that you were the approving 
         3     authority for the 9 February watch bill?
         4     A     Yes, sir.  I was the approving authority on the 
         5     February watch bill, Exhibit 41, as shown. 
         6     Q     As you've heard in the testimony over the last 
         7     eleven days, various court members have commented on 
         8     during the course of the day something in the area of 
         9     nine out of the thirteen watch stations were manned 
        10     from people different than on the watch bill that you 
        11     approved.  
        12           For those of us that have commanded submarines, 
        13     we know that that is not the norm for how we operate 
        14     our ships at sea.  Could you share with the court 
        15     here on the situation -- why do we have a situation 
        16     where so many changes took place on the watch station 
        17     on the watch bill of 9 February?
        18     A     The first thing I would like to say, that 
        19     having nine watchstanders out of thirteen not in 
        20     their designated places for assignment was not my 
        21     standard.  I can only surmise that factors 
        22     contributing to this were actions that we have heard 
        23     under testimony by my shipmates that they took it 
        24     upon themselves to provide backup to their other 
        25     shipmates, recognizing that men that were scheduled 



         1     to have the afternoon watch in some cases had been on 
         2     watch that morning, from the time the ship got under 
         3     way at 0800, through the period of time we were on 
         4     the maneuvering watch, until such a time that they 
         5     could secure and perhaps have their chow.  
         6           I base that upon the testimony I have heard in 
         7     court.  But I want to make it clear to you, sir, that 
         8     this is truly the exception and not the rule.  
         9           My signature on this watch bill.  Exhibit 41 is 
        10     an order.  And my crew did not execute that order. 
        11                     VADM NATHMAN:   Captain, why do you 
        12     call it backup when we have very few examples of 
        13     additional watchstanders, we have basically a 
        14     one-for-one replacement is that backup -- when you 
        15     give someone a smoke break, is that backup?
        16                     THE WITNESS:   Sir, that is not 
        17     backup.  The backup I was talking about, Admiral, was 
        18     the condition where Petty Officer McGiboney cited the 
        19     fact that Petty Officer Holmes, if he had remained on 
        20     watch that afternoon, would have watched essentially 
        21     for the entire day.  Petty Officer McGiboney took its 
        22     upon himself to relieve.  I am not using that to 
        23     offer as an excuse.  I am quoting the testimony that 
        24     Petty Officer McGiboney gave under oath, and used 
        25     that as an example of what they communicated for the 



         1     court for providing safe backup, that is, an alert 
         2     watchstander.
         3                     VADM NATHMAN:   I would call it as 
         4     scheduling oversight.  You have a chance to 
         5     (inaudible) the plan should be reflected in the watch 
         6     bill, and when you have that much ad hoc 
         7     watchstanding on your ship, what does it say about 
         8     the discipline of the way you are going to build your 
         9     rapprochement, your situational awareness?  It seemed 
        10     almost ad hoc during the day. 
        11                     THE WITNESS:   Admiral, the correct 
        12     action my crew should have taken that day is to raise 
        13     this to the executive officer, the chief of the 
        14     boat, and submit a formal watch bill change for my 
        15     approval. 
        16                     CAPT MACDONALD:   So it's your 
        17     testimony that the crew didn't carry out your order?
        18                     THE WITNESS:   Sir, it's my testimony 
        19     that nine watchstanders were not in their designated 
        20     watch station per the bill I assigned.
        21                     CAPT MACDONALD:   Would you agree 
        22     this is a training issue that we have to address with 
        23     the crew, so they be better trained, so they know 
        24     it's your directive that is to be carried out?
        25                     THE WITNESS:   This is a deficiency 



         1     that warrants training with the crew, so that the 
         2     crew fully understands the expectations and standards 
         3     of the commanding officer and is able to enforce 
         4     them. 
         5                     CAPT MACDONALD:   Thank you. 
         6                     RDML STONE:   We heard some comments 
         7     earlier in the week to serve as justification that 
         8     perhaps it wasn't bad that nine out of thirteen 
         9     personnel were not in their stations.  But you said, 
        10     obviously, that is not in accordance with your 
        11     standard.  
        12           Tell the court in your opinion why is it bad 
        13     when nine out of thirteen aren't in the spots that 
        14     you have so designated -- what kinds of things happen 
        15     with that if that that doesn't meet your standard?
        16     A     I can only speculate, Admiral.  
        17           But the purpose of a watch bill is to assign 
        18     specific individuals that are qualified for watch 
        19     stations to a designated location.  As you and I both 
        20     know, it fosters team building.  Now, on this 
        21     particular day, we were focusing on our efforts on 
        22     two issues.  One was the mission of that day -- the 
        23     distinguished visitors orientation of a submarine 
        24     cruise, and the second was my shipmates that were 
        25     left behind in port to perform training at the attack 



         1     centers, and the Naval Submarines Training Pacific 
         2     Building for the purpose of preparing those crew 
         3     members for our upcoming deployment.  
         4           On this day, 9 February, two watch bills were 
         5     written.  More, actually, if you include the 
         6     engineering watch bills -- a maneuvering watch bill 
         7     which supported getting the ship underway, and also 
         8     support of the ship returning to sea, and then the 
         9     underway watch bill. 
        10           It's my understanding that the coordination 
        11     between these two watch bills was not as effective as 
        12     it could have been, and therefore, contributed to 
        13     this problem where we had nine men not in their 
        14     designated spaces or assigned areas on the afternoon 
        15     of 9 February. 
        16                     RDML STONE:   Admiral Konetzni 
        17     testified that he had shared with you that he thought 
        18     you were perhaps too informal and also too fast 
        19     getting ahead of your crew.  Those were couple of 
        20     things he mentored you on. 
        21           When I look at this watch bill, is this a 
        22     reflection of informality -- in other words, running 
        23     loose on a DV cruise with a watch bill, that the 
        24     message to the crew is, I am an informal kind of 
        25     commander, so you can go with this -- what about that 



         1     standard, and what are we to read into this 
         2     informality that Admiral Konetzni talks about as it 
         3     relates to what we see on the watch bill on 9 
         4     February?
         5                     THE WITNESS:   Admiral, I would like 
         6     to answer all of those questions, but that's a lot of 
         7     information.  If I could to dissect your question 
         8     item by item. 
         9           I would like to if you would please restate 
        10     that question, and I will write those items down. 
        11     BY RDML STONE:    
        12     Q     Admiral Konetzni had talked about he had 
        13     mentored you about that he thought that you were 
        14     informal, and that you were too fast for your crew at 
        15     times -- two areas that he thought appropriate to 
        16     mentor you on. 
        17           So as I look at the watch bill and I see a 
        18     watch bill on the 9th of February that has nine out 
        19     of thirteen folks out of position -- and we'll talk a 
        20     little later about the unqualified nature of one of 
        21     the members in sonar -- as I look at that, I say to 
        22     myself, is that a reflection of this informality that 
        23     Admiral Konetzni mentored you on?  
        24           What are your thoughts on that, and in fact, do 
        25     you agree that that is reflective of an informal 



         1     commanding officer? 
         2     A     Sir, I see this as a five-part question. 
         3           When Admiral Konetzni stated under testimony 
         4     that he thought I was informal, based on observing me 
         5     in the control room, and that I was moving too fast, 
         6     I thought he had the wrong captain. 
         7           I was surprised to hear those words coming out 
         8     of the admiral's mouth.  And I'd like to explain this 
         9     if I may. 
        10     Q     Certainly. 
        11     A     I love Admiral Konetzni as if he was my 
        12     father.  He has mentored me, and was one of the 
        13     reasons that I chose to stay in the Navy.  And I 
        14     don't want to digress here, but I am trying to make 
        15     my point.  
        16           I worked for a very demanding commanding 
        17     officer on my first tour of duty.  He was slow to 
        18     praise but quick to criticize. 
        19           When he was relieved, and the second captain 
        20     came in, he demonstrated some confidence in me as a 
        21     junior officer, and sent me to my Engineer's Exam in 
        22     Naval Reactors.  Following that exam, I went to the 
        23     Naval Academy and met Admiral Konetzi for the first 
        24     time.  
        25           When he found out I passed my engineer's exam, 



         1     he came up, he slapped me on the back, he said, come 
         2     into my office and let's talk for an hour -- he 
         3     didn't say "an hour" but it ended up being an hour -- 
         4     that was the first time ever in my career, sir, that 
         5     a Navy captain, a submariner that I didn't know, took 
         6     an interest in me.  And that began that 
         7     relationship.  
         8           It further developed when I was on the San 
         9     Francisco.  When I met him, he was the commander of 
        10     the Submarine Group in Yokosuka, Japan, and I was 
        11     pleased to find out I would take command under his 
        12     command at COMSUBPAC.  So I have great deal of 
        13     respect for Admiral Konetzni, and when he spoke those 
        14     words and said that I was informal, and that I was 
        15     moving too fast, it hurt. 
        16           And coming from a man that I admire and that I 
        17     respect, I believe that I would have remembered those 
        18     words, had they been spoken to me. 
        19           Now, perhaps he communicated that to me by 
        20     other means, and Admiral, maybe I just didn't get 
        21     it.  And if that was the case, that's unfortunate. 
        22                     VADM NATHMAN:   Captain, is your 
        23     testimony, then, you didn't hear Admiral Konetzni say 
        24     you were being a bit informal with your crew?
        25                     THE WITNESS:   Admiral, I don't 



         1     remember if he said that. 
         2           As far as having nine out of thirteen men out 
         3     of position, Admiral, I have made that clear, that 
         4     was not my standard.  And I was very surprised to 
         5     find out that that was the case, that the court had 
         6     identified that deficiency. 
         7           Do nine of thirteen men not in their designated 
         8     watch stations reflect poorly upon me as a commanding 
         9     officer, sir?  You bet that does. 
        10           And that's wrong. 
        11           And I am telling you that that is not my 
        12     standard.  And I know that wouldn't happen in the 
        13     Engineering Department for those of us that are 
        14     nuclear-trained, because we understand clearly the 
        15     oversight that exists there.  And I am not saying 
        16     that there should be a double standard -- one for the 
        17     propulsion spaces, and one for the ship forward.  
        18           But I do know that the watch bill forward under 
        19     the guidelines of the standard submarine organization 
        20     manual does not have that same rigid adherence, and 
        21     in a submarine admiral sometimes flexibility is 
        22     warranted to afford an individual to attend morning 
        23     training, but I am not offering that as an excuse. 
        24           I signed that watch bill, Exhibit 41, and that 
        25     was an order from me.  And my crew didn't comply with 



         1     that order, and they violated my standard. 
         2           I was let down here. 
         3           I think my thoughts on this issue -- the fourth 
         4     part of your question -- have been addressed, if not, 
         5     then I will continue.  
         6           But finally, do I agree that this is informal,  
         7     and that it's a reflection of me as a captain and my 
         8     standard?  No, sir.  I was not informal.  
         9           And I made it clear, having approved that watch 
        10     bill, relying upon my subordinates who provided me 
        11     with that information -- that I communicated clearly 
        12     to the crew that this is what I expected. 
        13                     RDML STONE:   That answers my 
        14     question on that particular issue related to the 
        15     watch bill, and we're going to talk about that next 
        16     -- is the under-instruction watch that was not 
        17     continuously monitored in accordance with SUBPAC 
        18     requirements in sonar. 
        19           And the reason this is important, and it's 
        20     linked back to the nine of thirteen personnel out of 
        21     position, is it gets at the themes that we've heard 
        22     talked a lot about on Greenville the last twelve days 
        23     -- about safety, efficiency, and backup. 
        24           The nine of thirteen personnel out of position 
        25     doesn't meet the criteria for proper backup, it has 



         1     safety implications, efficiency, we can discuss as 
         2     well, but the under-instruction piece also gets at 
         3     those same three themes. 
         4           Is there a standard on board Greenville related 
         5     to allowing a seminar operator who is 
         6     under-instruction to sit that watch without the 
         7     continuous monitoring that is required by SUBPAC?     
         8           And do you approve of that? 
         9                     THE WITNESS:   I will answer the 
        10     first question first, Admiral.  
        11           Is there a standard on the USS Greenville that 
        12     allows for an under-instruction watch to stand that 
        13     watch which is contrary to the COMSUBPAC and 
        14     submarine force requirements. 
        15           Sir, that wasn't a standard, that was a 
        16     practice.  That practice was wrong.  I was not aware 
        17     of that practice, and under testimony much the 
        18     weapons officer Lieutenant Van Winkle, surprisingly, 
        19     neither was he.  
        20           And for a practice that predated my arrival in 
        21     command March 19th of 1999, that practice, Admiral, 
        22     was wrong, and should not have been permitted.  Had 
        23     it been brought to my attention, the attention of the 
        24     executive officer, and the attention of the weapons 
        25     officer who clearly said under testimony he would 



         1     have rectified that.  But I am surprised that it took 
         2     two years and a horrible tragic accident to raise 
         3     this issue to my attention and to the attention of 
         4     the force, commander.
         5                     VADM NATHMAN:   Well captain, it was 
         6     on your boat.  You speak frequently with your chief 
         7     of the boat, correct?
         8                     THE WITNESS:   I do.  Yes, sir.
         9                     VADM NATHMAN:   Okay, we've heard 
        10     lots of testimony about how open you were from 
        11     criticism from the crew to recommendations or 
        12     suggestions.  It was clear your sonar folks knew 
        13     about it, it was clear your chief of the boat knew 
        14     about it.  You had frequent conversations with your 
        15     chief of the boat.  
        16           Why didn't your chief of the boat raise that 
        17     issue with you in terms of your non-standard 
        18     practice? 
        19                     THE WITNESS:   Admiral, I can't tell 
        20     you why the chief of the boat didn't raise that to my 
        21     attention.  But I do know that the practice was 
        22     wrong.