The U.S. Navy’s submarine community is known as the “Silent Service” for a reason.
Theirs is a world of secretive, high-stakes missions, far from the public eye.
So when the elite fast-attack submarine Connecticut collided with an undersea mountain in October while operating in the South China Sea, the severity of the mishap was immediately apparent.
But questions remain about how exactly the boat collided with the seamount, and whether the accident was due to the one-off neglect of the command triad, or whether the incident raises further questions about the readiness of the submarine force.
Big Navy fired the ship’s commanding officer, executive officer and chief of the boat in November, and a “navigation stand-down” was held across the community as crews were given a refresher course on how to properly handle their boats.
But officials have yet to provide any details regarding the extent of damage to Connecticut, one of just three Seawolf-class submarines that are exceptionally quiet and weaponized, a key asset as the United States grapples with the militaries of a resurgent Russia and an ascendant China.
The Navy’s top officer, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, told reporters in November that the two investigations into the mishap will be released at some point in time.
While he didn’t specify a release date, naval watchers and sailors should expect more answers on this consequential collision in 2022, as well as a better sense of just how long the mighty Connecticut will be out of the fight as it undergoes repairs.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.