Sub commander relieved of duty


POSTED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The skipper of a Pearl Harbor-based attack submarine was fired this week after he was found guilty of drunkenness and conduct unbecoming an officer.

Pacific Fleet Submarine Pacific Forces officials said Cmdr. Jeff Cima, who assumed the helm of the 360-foot, Los Angeles-class sub USS Chicago and its crew of 143 in August, went before a captain's mast Monday to answer charges of drunkenness and unbecoming conduct during a visit to a mainland Navy ROTC unit. The Navy declined to provide further details of the March 10 incident. He was temporarily assigned to the staff of Submarine Squadron 3.

Cima, who was commissioned through the Navy's Officer Candidate School after graduating from Boston College in 1991, had lost the confidence to command the 24-year-old attack sub, the Navy said.

; The captain's mast was conducted by Capt. Daryl Caudle, who commands Submarine Squadron 3. Capt. James Horten, deputy commander of Squadron 3, was appointed temporary commander of the Chicago. He has served as commanding officer of the attack submarine USS Olympia from August 2005 to April 2008.

The Chicago, the fourth ship to be named after the Midwestern city, has been in the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard since August on a 21-month major maintenance repair job.

Cima has served aboard both fast-attack and ballistic missile submarines. His first assignment was aboard USS Drum and was part of the ship's decommissioning crew at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. He served as engineer officer aboard USS Pasadena in Pearl Harbor and was executive officer of the “;blue crew”; for the ballistic missile submarine USS Pennsylvania in Bangor, Wash.

He is the seventh Navy skipper to be fired this year. The most recent highly visible officer to be relieved was Capt. Holly Graf, who was fired Jan. 13 as commanding officer of the Japan-based cruiser USS Cowpens after being punished for “;cruelty and maltreatment.”;

Last year, Cmdr. Doug Sampson lost command of another Pearl Harbor-based Los Angeles-class sub, the USS La Jolla, when he failed “;to meet the high Navy standards necessary to remain in command,”; the Navy said. Sampson had been skipper of the 9,600-ton sub for two years when he was relieved. The La Jolla was in the shipyard for a 10-month maintenance overhaul.