Pearl Harbor submarine commander removed from duty


PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (June 18, 2020) – Commanding Officer Joseph Lautenslager, front, Chief-of-the-Boat Simeon Yeboah, left, and Executive Officer Brian Ross, all assigned to the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Charlotte (SSN 766), give a shout-out to their namesake city in North Carolina. Charlotte is homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and is the fourth ship of the United States Navy to be named for Charlotte, North Carolina. (U.S. Navy video by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Amanda Gray)

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Capt. Michael Majewski on Tuesday relieved Cmdr. Joseph Lautenslager of his command of the USS Charlotte.

An investigation into the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine based at Pearl Harbor revealed leadership and command climate problems, which caused Majewski to lose confidence in Lautenslager’s ability to perform as commanding officer, according to a news release today from the Commander Submarine Force of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

A Navy official told USNI News the relief was due in large part to “command climate and leadership failures,” revealed in an investigation following the March 17 death by suicide of a sailor on watch aboard the submarine.

Torpedoman’s Mate 3rd Class Petty Officer Manuel Julian Jr., 23, “died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound while on duty” in the shipyard, the Navy said at the time. The death prompted an investigation, and the initial results led to the relief.

“Morale of the crew played a large factor in the decision to remove him from command,” Navy spokeswoman Cmdr. Cindy Fields told Stars and Stripes.

Cmdr. Christopher Hedrick, deputy commander of CSS-7, has assumed command of the Charlotte until a permanent replacement is named.

The USS Charlotte has been based in Hawaii since 1995.

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