Eugene Hoshiko / AP
The U.S. The Navy is set to drop all criminal charges against two officials following the deadly collisions killed by seven sailors on board the USS Fitzgerald as the destroyer is on a secret mission.
The decision of a legal battle year ends with the Navy blaming Cmdr. Bryce Benson and Lt. Natalie Combs, among others, for what it refers to is a "preventable" accident caused, in part, of many leadership failures. But it is likely that the transition to their naval races will eventually end.
A statement released this Wednesday explains that the Chief of Naval Operations Adm recommends. John Richardson charges negligence against officials removed and halted.
"This decision is in the best interests of the Navy, the families of the Fitzgerald Sailors, and the rights to the procedures of accused officials," the statement reads. "Both officials have been removed from their jobs and received non-judicial sanctions."
In addition, the statement said Secretary of the Navy's Secretary Richard V. Spencer will give letters of defamation to Benson and Combs. The letters have no legal weight but are used within the military for public disgrace to service members.
"The cases were removed due to legal reasons that would prevent the ongoing persecution of any official," the Navy explained in letters sent to families of seven sailors who died in collision with a ship loading, USNI News reported.
Combs & # 39; lawyer, David Sheldon, NPR told the lieutenant received a letter of slander from the Navy's secretary on Thursday advising him for his actions.
"To be clear, Lt. Combs was perfectly prepared to defend and beat the charges brought against him," Sheldon said. "He is not responsible for setting a time of behavior that raises personnel and training, allowing the ship to switch to a" degraded "radar and put seafarers at great risk in the USS Fitzgerald. "
USS Fitzgerald collided with a ship flagged in the Philippines on the coast of Japan on June 17, 2017. The $ 1.8 billion destroyer, administered by a 300-member crew, cooks a secret mission in the South China Sea when it was struck by freight ship, more than three times its size. The resulting gash from the strike is greater than a semitruck. Hundreds of tons of water flooded the warship, leaving seven seafarers in their compartments.
Benson was the head of the ship at that time.
Two months later another destroyer – USS John S. McCain – cut off a Liberian flag with a flag near Singapore, resulting in the death of 10 sailors.
A Navy investigation into the same accident was found in the case of Fitzgerald, "Many of the decisions made that led to this incident were the result of poor judgment and decision making by the Commanding Officer." But added reports, "The crew are unprepared for the situation where they found themselves through lack of preparation, ineffective command and control, and lack of training and navigational preparations."
And, in a news briefing following the release of the report, Richardson told reporters that "increasing pressure to meet operational requirements led to the mandatory rationalization of the rejection procedures. .. with basic seam skills ".
Richardson said crew members lacked basic knowledge of how to push the ship. They do not know "how to respond when you get to a crossroad situation" or "the basics of understanding the ship's control console," he said.
He also recognizes that fatigue and sleep loss has a role in a deadly incident.
The findings of the latter investigation lead to a training arrangement, Navy scheduling, fatigue management policies and operational safety measures.
"A comprehensive program to improve Navy's readiness and training, to do everything possible to ensure that accidents like this will not be repeated, will remain on track," the Navy said on Thursday.