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Submarine skipper is relieved of his post


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POSTED: Saturday, October 31, 2009

The commander of the Pearl Harbor-based nuclear-powered submarine USS La Jolla was relieved of duty yesterday because of a “;loss of confidence in his ability to command,”; Navy officials said.

Cmdr. Doug Sampson was replaced as commander of the USS La Jolla and assigned to Submarine Squadron 1 by Capt. Stanley Robertson, Submarine Squadron 1 commodore.

The issues surrounding Sampson's relief from duty included “;La Jolla's in-port planning, operations and administrations, which fell short of high Navy standards,”; said Lt. Cmdr. David Benham, spokesman for the Pacific Fleet Submarine Force.

He said Sampson's actions never posed “;any danger to the crew and the public.”;

The La Jolla is undergoing maintenance in Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and has been there for several months, Benham said.

The allegations against Sampson included issues that occurred while the submarine was in the shipyard, he said.

Administrative action has been taken or is being considered for other crew members of USS La Jolla, a Navy news release said.

“;These issues are currently under investigation,”; Benham said.

Cmdr. Erik Burian, who previously commanded the Pearl Harbor-based USS Los Angeles, took command of the sub yesterday. Sampson took the helm of the La Jolla, his first submarine command, in October 2007. He previously served on three other submarines. Sampson had been executive officer on the USS Pasadena in Pearl Harbor.

The La Jolla is a $900 million, 28-year-old Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine home-ported in Pearl Harbor since 2000.