US Navy relieves 2 more top officers of their duties
US Navy relieves 2 more top officers of their duties
Navy Sacks Two More Commanding Officers Over Fatal Collisions
20 September, 2017, 00:47
The Navy's top officer says that although commanders are ultimately responsible for problems leading to two recent fatal ship collisions - the spike in naval operations combined with budget shortfalls and uncertainty strained his force and made it hard to do needed training and maintenance.
Both men worked in the Japan-based 7th Fleet.
The announcement comes a day before the Senate is scheduled to hold a hearing on Navy mishaps.
Williams was removed as commander of the Combined Task Force 70 (CTF 70), the Navy's largest battle force, which includes Carrier Strike Group 5 with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, cruisers and destroyers. The Fitzgeraldcollided with a merchant tanker on June 7 and seven sailors died; the McCaincollided with a tanker on August 21, which resulted in the deaths of 10 sailors, according to USNI.
"It is simply unacceptable for U.S. Navy ships to run aground or collide with other ships - and to have four such incidents in the span of seven months is truly alarming", said Sen.
Rear Admiral Marc Dalton is now commander Task Force 70 and Captain Jonathan Duffy, who was deputy commander of the destroyer squadron, took over as commander.
Bennett was relieved of his post as commander of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, responsible for the Navy's forward-deployed destroyer squadron and commanding the readiness of eight guided-missile destroyers as well as destroyers deployed to the Seventh Fleet area.
Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee today about ship collisions at sea, Adm. John Richardson in his written testimony said the readiness for sea assessments will "ensure ships are able to safely navigate, communicate and operate". Adm. Joseph Aucoin, who was relieved after the McCain accident, though he was slated for retirement anyway.
Two high-ranking Navy commanders were fired Monday in the latest response to a the deadly accidents.
The personnel shuffle came in addition to a request by Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, commander of U.S. Naval Surface Forces, to retire two months ahead of schedule to "allow for new leadership" of the surface fleet, officials told USNI News.
Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office government watchdog said that a reduction in crew sizes was contributing to safety risks, with some sailors working over 100 hours a week. "But I do know the Navy is caught between an relenting operational demand and a limited supply of ships".
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