USS Greeneville (SSN-772), a Los Angeles-class submarine, is the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Greeneville, Tennessee. The contract to build her was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, Virginia, on 14 December 1988, and her keel was laid down on 28 February 1992. She was launched on 17 September 1994, sponsored by Tipper Gore, and commissioned on 16 February 1996, with Commander Duane B. Hatch in command.
The ship was named for Greeneville, home of 17th United States President Andrew Johnson, after local residents, businesses such as Greeneville Metal Manufacturing, which built submarine components, and government officials began a campaign for a submarine to be named after their town, rather than a large metropolitan area.
The Greeneville is probably best known for colliding with a Japanese fishing vessel off the coast of Oahu in February 2001.
The Ehime Maru incident
On 9 February 2001, while conducting an emergency main ballast tank blow off the coast of Oahu while hosting several civilian "distinguished visitors", mainly donors to the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the Greeneville struck the commercial Japanese fishing vessel Ehime Maru (えひめ丸), causing the fisher to sink in less than ten minutes with the death of nine crew members, including four high school students. The commander of the Greeneville, Commander Scott Waddle, accepted full responsibility for the incident. However, after he faced a court of inquiry, it was decided a full court-martial would be unnecessary and Commander Waddle was forced to retire and given an Honorable discharge.
On 27 August 2001, Greeneville ran aground while entering port in Saipan on a routine Western Pacific Deployment. The boat's underside, rudder, and secondary propulsion motor suffered minor damage; repairs required drydocking and a significant delay in the remainder of her deployment. The boat's commanding officer, Commander David Bogdan, was relieved of command, and the navigator and assistant navigator were also removed from their duties. In addition, the navigator and the sub's executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Gerald Pfieffer, were found guilty of "hazarding a vessel" during an admiral's mast, conducted by Rear Admiral Joseph Enright, Commander, Submarine Group Seven.
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