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Submarine's top sailor axed amid hazing probe

Mar. 31, 2012 - 09:29AM   |   Last Updated: Mar. 31, 2012 - 09:29AM  |  
Chief Machinist's Mate (SS) Charles Berry was relieved as chief of the boat of guided missile sub Florida's Gold Crew on March 30, Submarine Group 10 said.
Chief Machinist's Mate (SS) Charles Berry was relieved as chief of the boat of guided missile sub Florida's Gold Crew on March 30, Submarine Group 10 said. (Navy)
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The top enlisted sailor on a Kings Bay, Ga.-based guided missile submarine was fired Friday for "dereliction of duty" amid an investigation into hazing claims onboard the submarine, Submarine Group 10 said.

Master Chief Machinist's Mate (SS) Charles Berry was relieved as chief of the boat of guided missile sub Florida's Gold Crew by Capt. Stephen Gillespie, commander of Submarine Squadron 16, SUBGRU 10 said in a news release.

"During an investigation surrounding allegations of hazing onboard USS Florida (Gold), Berry was found to have neglected his duties as a leader onboard the submarine," the release said. "While not involved in the alleged hazing, it was determined Berry had knowledge of the alleged events and failed to take action and inform his chain of command."

Berry is the sixth top enlisted fired this year, and the second from the submarine force. He was the second top enlisted fired this week; the top enlisted http://www.navytimes.com/news/2012/03/navy-storms-vfa-131-cmc-fired-harassment-allegations-investigation-032912/">at a Virginia Beach, Va.-based strike fighter squadron was fired Tuesday after an investigation into claims of sexual harassment, the Navy said.

Specifics on the investigation remain unclear, such as the nature of the alleged hazing, when it may have occurred or who may have been involved.

Florida's Gold Crew was in the news a year ago after it successfully launched more than 90 cruise missiles as part of Libya campaign. These were the first Tomahawk warshots fired by a guided missile submarine, the Navy said then.

Berry has been reassigned to Submarine Squadron 16. Command Master Chief (SS) Brett Prince, who was set to relieve Berry next month, will assume duties as chief of the boat earlier than anticipated.

"The Navy's standards for personnel behavior are very high and we demand that our people are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve," SUBGRU 10 said in the statement. "When individuals fall short of this standard of professionalism and personal behavior, the Navy will take swift and decisive action."

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