Tag Archives: U.S. Seventh Fleet

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! November 23: Another Naval Disaster

sailors-lost-chialastri-combs-grosso.jpg

The U.S. Seventh Fleet was performing a joint training exercise with the Japanese 500 miles from Okinawa when a C-2A Greyhound plane carrying eleven American service members crashed in the Philippine Sea. Eight were quickly rescued and moved to the carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which the plane had been aiming for.

Airman Matthew Chialastri, Lt. Steven Combs and Airman Apprentice Bryan Grosso (above) were all presumed dead after a two-day search.

According to CNN, this was the Seventh Fleet’s sixth major non-combat “incident” in 2017.

This count includes the deadly crashes of the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S McCain, which we covered earlier in the year, as well as  the USS Antietam running into the ground of Tokyo Bay in January; the USS Lake Champlain crashing into a South Korean fishing boat in May; and the guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold getting pegged by an out-of-control Japanese tugboat on November 18,  just days before the Greyhound crash.

BREAKING: USS John S. McCain Collision

By our count, the Seventh Fleet, which fired Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin in August, has suffered 20 non-combat American deaths this year. The McCain and Fitzgerald commanders were also removed. CNN cited a Navy report casting those fatal incidents “avoidable [and due to] numerous failures […] on the part of leadership.”

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-navy-plane-crash-sailors-missing-named-pacific-ocean-okinawa-japan/

http://time.com/5030829/uss-benfold-tug-boat-collision/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/22/politics/navy-aircraft-crash/index.html

BREAKING: USS John S. McCain Collision

UPDATE 8/28/17

Washington Post identified the full list of sailors lost in the crash. All remains have been recovered.

Nathan Findley, 31:

Abraham Lopez, 39:

Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26:

Jacob Daniel Drake, 21:

Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23:

Corey George Ingram, 28;

Dustin Louis Doyon, 26:

John Henry Hoagland III, 20:

Logan Stephen Palmer, 23:

and Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22:

UPDATE 8/23/17

Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, commander of the 7th Fleet, was relieved of duties in the wake of the USS John S. McCain collision.

Aucoin speaks following the USS Fitzgerald collision in June.

Aucoin was scheduled to retire next month, and his slated replacement, Rear Admiral Phillip Sawyer, took command.

“Some remains” of the ten missing sailors have been recovered by Navy divers, but no identifications have been made.

Three sailors’ families were informed their sons were missing: Logan Palmer, Ken Smith and Jacob Drake.

Also:

CNN and Wall Street Journal had details on the third and fourth 2017 Naval accidents in the Asian area. According to WSJ:

Two other accidents within U.S. Seventh Fleet’s area of responsibility occurred earlier this year. In May, the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain collided with a South Korean fishing vessel, and in January, another cruiser, the USS Antietam, ran aground near its port in Yokosuka.

[our coloring]

Original post continues below.

America’s Navy reported the evening of August 20 that the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a merchant ship in the South China Sea, specifically in Singapore‘s Strait of Malacca (6:24 AM on August 21 in Japan time.)

Five sailors are injured, with ten missing.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) maneuvers alongside the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) for a refueling-at-sea.

John S. McCain, pre-collision.

The other party was Alnic MC, an “oil and chemical tanker” out of Liberia.

The John S. McCain, damaged, made it to Changi Naval Base in Singapore.

The USS John S. McCain arrives at Changi Naval Base in Singapore following the Monday collision.

Damaged John S. McCain pulling into Singapore.

The collision left major damage to the port side of the USS John S. McCain, seen here in Singapore.

CNN reported on the port side damage of the John S. McCain (above).

When reporters asked President Trump about the collision, he reportedly responded, “That’s too bad.” The remark will likely be lambasted for the next few days.

The John S. McCain is named for Senator John McCain’s father and grandfather, both Navy Admirals.

According to CNN, this is the fourth U.S. Navy accident in Asian waters for 2017.

CNN “military analyst” Rick Francona predicted the 7th Fleet of the U.S. Navy will undergo a leadership change.

“How does a state-of-the-art Navy destroyer — equipped with multiple radar systems and communications gear with a full bridge watch — not see, detect and evade a 30,000-ton slow-moving (10 knots) behemoth?” Francona asked.

 

United States Seventh Fleet -logo (hi-res).jpg

The 7th Fleet is based in Yokosuka, Japan; its objectives include defense of the Korean peninsula, according to Wikipedia. According to America’s Navy, “At any given time there are 70-80 ships and submarines, 140 aircraft and approximately 40,000 Sailors and Marines in [the 48 million square mile area of operation].”

 

The oil and chemical tanker Alnic MC after Monday's collision off Johor, Malaysia.

The 505-foot Alnic MC, which reported no injuries and denies any oil was spilled. (“Merchant maritime websites” tout the length at 600 feet, however, according to CNN. Because size matters.)

A Navy official told CNN the John S. McCain briefly lost steering before the collision, but it was regained.

*

Of the Asian accidents made possible this year by the world’s largest, most expensive and intrusive military of all time attempting to micromanage the affairs of all other countries, the USS Fitzgeralds disastrous collision with Filipino merchant ship MVACX Crystal outside Tokyo, Japan on June 17 resulted in perhaps the most scathing indictment of leadership.

Seven U.S. sailors (below, thanks New York Times: Xavier Martin, 24; Shingo Douglass, 25; Dakota Rigsby, 19; Carlos Sibayan, 23; Ngoc T. Truong Huynh, 25; Noe Hernandez, 26; and Gary Rehm Jr., 37) perished, apparently drowning in a breached berthing compartment.

The Fitzgerald (two pictures below, thanks to Washington Post) is also a guided missile destroyer.

Three leaders of the Fitzgerald at the time were removed from duty on August 17. Unfortunately, they all have very similar names (from left to right, above, thanks to USNI News): Commander Bryce Benson, executive officer Commander Sean Babbitt and command master chief (CMC) Brice Baldwin.

None of the three were on the Fitzgerald‘s bridge at the time of collision. In fact, the crash crush[ed] and warp[ed] Benson’s stateroom […] leaving him hanging to the side of the hull in the open air for 15 minutes.

Several subordinate officers had to pop the stateroom door with a sledgehammer and their own bodies, then form a human chain to retrieve Benson, who was medically evacuated by Japanese helicopter.

[VCNO Admiral Bill] Moran singled out the actions of Gary Leo Rehm Jr., who was advanced to Chief Petty Officer posthumously this week. Rehm helped get several sailors out to the exits while Berthing 2 was flooding and was one of the seven who died.

Moran reportedly acknowledged “serious mistakes were made by members of the crew” and that sailors “lost situational awareness.”

New York Times wondered,

[W]hy did [lookouts] not see the 728-foot freighter, the ACX Crystal, stacked with more than 1,000 containers, bearing on the destroyer?

According to USNI News, repair costs “could easily rise above $500 million.”

New York Times reports the Fitzgerald cost $1.5 billion and, like the John S. McCain, is much smaller than its collision partner. [And sustained much more damage. And was supposed to be more maneuverable and able to avoid collisions.]

In fact, Heavy reported back in June that the Crystal was chartered by a Japanese company, and its crew–much smaller than that of the 300-plus Fitzgerald–sustained no injuries.

[T]he ACX Crystal is being investigated for possibly making a sharp turn before the collision. However, that turn might have come after the collision, and ACX Crystal could have been operating on autopilot, one expert said.

Several additional sailors, on duty the night of June 17, were also removed. The Navy, citing “inadequate leadership,” commented that about twelve sailors in all will be disciplined.

Benson, Babbitt and Baldwin’s Naval careers are likely finished.

*

America proceeded with ten days of joint military exercises with South Korea beginning today. North Korea (recently engaged in a verbal spat with Trump over who gets to actually trigger the destruction of all mankind) commented yesterday these drills signified “reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war.”

However, BREAKING UPDATE 12:00 PM Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson on August 21 ordered a one-day pause in operations “to ensure we are taking all appropriate immediate measures to enhance the Navy’s safe and effective operation around the world.”

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=102034

http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/pages/SeventhFleet.aspx#.WZruxyiGNPY

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/08/17/top-two-officers-and-other-sailors-aboard-the-uss-fitzgerald-to-be-disciplined-following-deadly-collision-at-sea/?utm_term=.9d9e3139e123

USS Fitzgerald Command Triad Removed Following Early Investigation Results

ACX Crystal: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/20/asia/us-navy-destroyer-collision-singapore/index.html

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2017/08/23/US-Navy-removes-Pacific-Fleet-commander-after-deadly-warship-crashes/9651503467007/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-navy-ship-collision-20170822-story.html

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-navy-to-relieve-admiral-of-command-after-collisions-1503448987

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/08/24/these-are-the-10-sailors-lost-from-the-uss-john-s-mccain/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.b8b3fadbb26f