March 17th, 2010
03:00 PM ET

Sub commander fired for partying with college students

The commander of a U.S. Navy submarine has been relieved of duty after getting drunk with college officer-training students last week, according to Navy officials.

Cmdr. Jeff Cima led the Hawaii-based USS Chicago, a nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine, until Monday, when Navy officials said they had lost confidence in his ability to command and found him guilty of actions unbecoming of an officer, according to Navy spokesman Cmdr. Danny Hernandez.

The action is essentially career-ending, Hernandez said. Cima has been assigned to administrative duty in Hawaii, he added.

Last week, Cima attended a Reserve Officers Training Corps event in the continental United States where he became drunk, breaking regulations for a naval officer, Hernandez said.

ROTC is a college-based officer training program for the U.S. military.

Navy officials would not say where or what the event was because that would reveal other people involved in the event, they said.

According to the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet's Web site, the new commanding officer of the USS Chicago is Capt. James E. Horten. Cima was commander of the Chicago for almost a year, according to Navy officials.

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Fidel Gastro

    Is administrative duty in Hawaii a punishment? Detroit, yes. Hawaii, no.

    March 17, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. PCHJR

    There must be more to this story because the punishment ludicrously outweighs any "crime."

    March 17, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Charley B

    The guys a sub sailor! Getting drunk now and again is part of the gig. Proves he's trustworthy and normal to his crew and not some Washington, stuffed shirt, politically correct piece of shit. Which, unfortunately, seems to be the real focus of today's military brass. Where else in the world do you get a court marshal for giving a terrorist a fat lip or get a silver star one day for damn near dying in battle and then get Monday morning quarterbacked by a bunch of desk riding chickenshits and relieved of command?

    March 17, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Frank

    Ship/Sub Captains must maintain distance from sailors. Even other officers. 'It's lonely at the top.'

    This is the way it is. This is the way it must be.

    March 17, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gooch

    administrative duty=dead end to your armed forces career, Fidel. He won't get further promotion or opportunities. He'll be a desk jockey until he retires. That's the nature of the "punishment".

    March 17, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. usukwordman

    The guy is a sub commander, not a sub sailor. Get drunk with other sub commanders - not with a bunch of ROTC college kids (or even your own subordinates). Reminds me of Larry Eustacy partying and getting drunk with college students - how dumb can you be? This guy is a sub commander, not a frat dude.

    March 17, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. X-721

    One of the better senior officers I've ever worked with. Kudos to Charley B's comment.

    March 18, 2010 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. Richard Hightower

    Getting drunk and acting in ways that are "unbecoming of an officer" is not the Navy / Military life (despite what popular myth, movies, and TV would have us believe.) Commanders do not get drunk with their men. They may have a drink or two, but it is imperative they maintain control of themselves at all times public and private. No serviceman can respect or properly follow a person who is not a leader and has no self-discipline. This is especially the case in the company of ROTC students!

    This mans career is essentially over as it should be. He may have been a good submarine commander in the past, but whoever that man was, is now gone. It is time for this man to contemplate just who and what he is and move in his life towards where that is pointing him.

    March 18, 2010 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. ASB

    This has nothing to do with political correctness. It has to do with Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice concerning fraternization. As a senior officer and a sub commander, he should have known better. His actions were clearly inappropriate and unbecoming an officer.

    March 18, 2010 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. AW1 Tim

    Absolutely agree with the Navy on this one. Command comes with certain restraints that set you apart from everyone else. A commander cannot allow himself to become too close, or too familiar with those whom he may well have to send into harm's way. He must always be seen as someone to respect and emulate. It is unfortunate that this happened, but it was the right thing for the Navy to do.

    March 18, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  11. James

    There's NO excuse for a commanding officer of anything, much less an nuclear attack submarine, getting drunk in public at a ROTC event. You're in civvies, on your own time, in your own place, go for it. Go public you're in trouble, go to an OFFICIAL function and get shit-faced, well you're an idiot whose judgment is clearly in question, or otherwise you're in dire need of some rehabilitative assistance.

    High pressure job, as charlyb says a "sub sailor" which on its own comes with lots of pressure, and the fact is that this was a sub commanding officer with lots of additional pressure, not just a young sailor who could be given some leeway in the stupidity department. This guy released himself inappropriately and the call on this was most certainly right – if he couldn't be trusted to act appropriately at a ROTC function how in the world could be trusted with acting appropriately when it was required with an SSN?

    March 25, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rode-da-boats

    This must be some new crap the navy instilled since I rode the boats. I sure do remember my CO's getting drunk with the crew. With the exception of Boomers, Sub crews are too small and tight knit with each other to be putting up with all that bureaucratic politically correct bullsh... and it has no reflection of anyone's ability office or inlisted to perform their duties as prescribed.

    April 4, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. colege plan

    As harsh as the punishments appears, with high rank come big responsibilities. Excuses aside, a commanding officer should be a role model to look up to.

    May 10, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |