The damaged port aft hull of the USS John S. McCain at Singapore’s Changi naval base on Aug. 22. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Navy fires 2 commanders in connection with ship collisions

The USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker collided last month, killing 10 U.S. sailors.

By Lolita C. Baldor / Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy has fired two senior commanders in the Pacific region in connection with recent deadly collisions of Navy ships as part of a sweeping purge of leadership in the Japan-based fleet.

The announcement comes a day before the top U.S. Navy officer and the Navy secretary are scheduled to go to Capitol Hill for a hearing on the ship crashes.

Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander of the Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet, fired Rear Adm. Charles Williams and Capt. Jeffrey Bennett, citing a loss of confidence in their ability to command. Williams was the commander of Task Force 70, which includes the aircraft carriers, destroyers and cruisers in the 7th Fleet, and Bennett was commander of the destroyer squadron.

Last month, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, who previously led 7th Fleet, was relieved of duty.

The USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker collided in Southeast Asia last month, leaving 10 U.S. sailors dead and five injured. And seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided in waters off Japan.

The latest dismissals bring the number of fired senior commanders to six, including the top three officers of the Fitzgerald.

Navy Capt. Charlie Brown said Monday that 7th Fleet ships have completed the one-day operational pause ordered for the entire Navy to make sure crews were conducting safe operations. And Pacific Fleet is in the process of carrying out a ship-by-ship review of its vessels, looking at navigation, mechanical systems, bridge resource management and training.

Rear Adm. Marc Dalton is now commander Task Force 70, and Capt. Jonathan Duffy, who was deputy commander of the destroyer squadron, took over as commander.

Talk to us

More in Nation-World

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

She was a women’s rights champion who became the court’s second female justice.

US remembers 9/11 as pandemic changes tribute traditions

Trump spoke at the memorial near Shanksville. Biden attended the observance in New York.

George Floyd? Donald Trump? Hero statue nominations are in

Suggestions look considerably different from the predominantly white picks the administration chose.

John Lewis, lion of civil rights and Congress, dies at 80

He was best known for leading 600 protesters in the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

Comet streaking past Earth, providing spectacular show

NASA’s Neowise infrared space telescope discovered the comet in March.

Boeing has settled almost all Lion Air crash-death claims

The company didn’t say how much it paid the families of the people killed in the 2018 Indonesia crash.

Supreme Court: LGBT people protected from job discrimination

Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Boeing, suppliers plunge on stop-and-go 737 Max comeback

An uptick in Covid-19 cases in the U.S. has added to concerns that airlines face a prolonged recovery

Boeing goes another month without a single airliner order

Airlines are canceling thousands of flights while passengers remain too scared to fly.

Bellevue couple’s nightmare: Held in China, away from daughter

Chinese officials want the man’s father to return from the U.S. to face 20-year-old embezzling charges.

Airbus CEO warns workers it’s bleeding cash and needs cuts

Both Airbus and Boeing are preparing for job cuts as they gauge the depth of the downturn.

U.S. unsure it can meet deadline to disburse funds to tribes

The department hasn’t determined whether unique Alaska Native corporations are eligible for a share.