TIME: Greeneville skipper says he didn't give crew time to do their jobs
HONOLULU, Hawaii (CNN) -- The commander of a U.S. submarine involved in February's fatal collision with a Japanese training vessel said he didn't give his crew the time they needed to do their jobs, TIME magazine reports.
Navy Cmdr. Scott Waddle told TIME he would "give my life if it meant one of those nine lives lost could be brought back."
Waddle also reportedly said he believes that civilian visitors on the USS Greeneville during the February 9 collision were a factor in the disaster, which claimed the lives of nine people on the Ehime Maru.
"Having them in the control room at least interfered with our concentration," Waddle told TIME, referring to the civilian visitors.
Waddle reportedly said that when he raised the vessel's periscope after the collision, "I saw all those little people tumbling in the water. I felt disbelief, regret, remorse, anxiety, rage, denial."
"I didn't cause the accident. I gave the orders that resulted in the accident," he said. "And I take full responsibility."
"I cannot tell you how easy it would have been for me to say it wasn't my fault -- that the guys who worked for me made the mistakes. But I couldn't in good faith do that," he said.
The Greeneville collided with the Ehime Maru during a maneuver called an "emergency blow," in which the submarine surfaces rapidly. The submarine was at sea off Oahu, Hawaii, to demonstrate the Greeneville's capabilities to a group of 16 dignitaries, part of a Navy program to build public support for the submarine service.
Report: Court-martial not recommended
Last month, three admirals, sitting as a court of inquiry, heard testimony from 38 witnesses about the incident, including Waddle. They have submitted a report to the commander of the Pacific Fleet, who will decide whether to court-martial Waddle, which could result in prison time, or give him some lesser form of punishment.
The New York Times reported Sunday that the three admirals have recommended against a court-martial for Waddle.
The commander told TIME that he has trouble sleeping since the collision, and he broke down several times during the interviews.
"I am not tired of apologizing," Waddle said. "But I am tired of crying. It kills me that nine people died because of an accident."
Waddle gave the order to conduct the emergency blow after taking the periscope himself and doing a search. He told TIME he now believes he was pushing ahead too quickly to complete the trip, which was behind schedule.
"I didn't give the men the time they needed to do their jobs. I was so confident in my abilities and what I had seen, I was convinced the ship was safe to carry out those maneuvers," Waddle said.
Divided court of inquiry gives recommendations on Navy sub incident
NTSB transcripts: Greeneville/Ehime Maru 031201
U.S. doubles Gulf forces
Case resigns as AOL chairman
New Yorkers look to plans for fractured skyline
Man stabbed in NY subway station
Search for missing woman continues
Climbers lost on Mount Hood found alive
N. Y. plans to heal skyline
Stocks rise on Case departure
Lieberman's presidential announcement today
New arrests may be linked to UK ricin scare
Jordan says farewell for the third time
Shaq could miss playoff game for child's birth
Ex-USOC official says athletes bent drug rules
|Back to the top|