WASHINGTON – The Navy announced Friday it relieved the commander of a nuclear submarine that was involved in an incident that killed two sailors.
On Dec. 29, rough seas swept four American sailors from the deck of the submarine off the coast of southwestern England. The USS-Minneapolis-St. Paul was leaving Plymouth harbor when the sailors were knocked into the water by surging waves. The four men were taken to a hospital in Plymouth, where two were pronounced dead.
According to officials, an initial review determined the incident was avoidable and due in part to a poor decision by the commander. A formal investigation is still under way. He was identified by a Navy statement as Cmdr. Edwin Ruff.
According to the Navy, Ruff was reassigned to a shore-based post in Norfolk, Va. The decision was made by Vice Adm. Chuck Munns, commander of the Navy's Submarine Force in Norfolk.
"Munns took this action due to a loss of in confidence in Ruff's ability to command," according to the service statement.
Earlier this week, Ruff and another officer on the submarine received a letter of reprimand.