1 DAY 12 SESSION 1 MARCH 20, 2001 8:00 a.m.
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
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
11 VADM NATHMAN: Counsel, you may
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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