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Sub skipper to lose command

One sailor was killed when boat hit undersea mountain

From Mike Mount
CNN Washington Bureau

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kevin Mooney received nonjudicial punishment.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The captain of a U.S. submarine that hit an undersea mountain last month in the western Pacific, killing one sailor and injuring 23 others, will be relieved of command, Pentagon officials said Friday.

Navy Cmdr. Kevin Mooney will not be charged with any crime and will not be court-martialed.

He received a nonjudicial punishment, most likely in the form of a letter of reprimand from his commander, this week, officials said. Such punishment typically ends an officer's career.

Mooney was reassigned pending an investigation after the severely damaged the USS San Francisco returned to its home port in Guam. Details of the investigation were not available.

Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Joseph Allen Ashley, 24, of Akron, Ohio, died of injuries suffered in the accident, which occurred when the attack submarine was en route to Brisbane, Australia.

The nuclear-powered submarine's bow was severely damaged when the submarine struck an undersea mountain 350 miles south of Guam on January 8 while traveling at a high speed.

In late January, a Navy official said it appeared the mountain was not on the navigation charts the crew was using.

Although the outer hull was ripped open, the inner hull was not compromised, and water did not get into the working and living quarters.

The USS San Francisco carried a crew of 137.

CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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