More Fallout from Pacific Casualties — Admiral and Captain Removed Prior to Senate Hearing

The fallout continues from the recent collisions with merchant ships in the Pacific involving the destroyers USS Fitgerald and the USS John McCain. The collisions resulted in the deaths of 17 US sailors. Earlier in the year, two guided missile cruisers based in the Pacific were also in casualties — one grounding and one collision — without loss of life.

The Navy has announced the removal of Rear Adm. Charles Williams, commander of Combined Task Force 70, the Navy’s largest operational battle force. Also being removed is his subordinate, Captain Jeffery Bennett, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 15, the squadron. The Navy describes the actions as being part of “ongoing accountability actions as part of the Navy investigations.”  Not directly related to the dismissals, the head of U.S. Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Tom Rowden put in a request last week to retire about two months early, several Navy officials confirmed to USNI News.  

The two dismissals and the announced early retirement come days before Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer are scheduled to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the string of incidents in the Western Pacific this year.

As reported by USNI NewsAppearing with Spencer and Richardson is Government Accountability Office director of defense readiness issues John Pendleton, who has guided several reports on the lack of certifications and overwork of the Navy’s forward-deployed forces that have been substantiated by the service.

As to the removals, Bennett and Williams are the fifth and sixth officials to be relieved from their positions in U.S. 7th Fleet following the two deadly collisions between U.S. warships and merchant ships.

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4 Responses to More Fallout from Pacific Casualties — Admiral and Captain Removed Prior to Senate Hearing

  1. Willy says:

    Too bad we the people cant hold hte senators responsible for making the terrible debacle of cutting corners in the Navy training.

  2. Hal Weiner says:

    When you are out there, you can train. The DDG class of Destroyers in issue have all the comforts of home. I served on the USS ESSEX (CVA/9CVS9) for three years back when and they didn’t give us diddly squar. I was the crypto security officer, OS Division officer and boat officer to the Marine Detachment on board. We had a bunch of guys who joined the Navy because the judge told them ” son you got 24 hours to join the service of your choice before you go inside” and ” I recommend the Navy because there ain’t no Navy base within 100 miles of here “. We got the Communications E, supported the first invasion of Lebanon under a REAL US President ( Eisenhower ) and went thru the Suez Canal with 3 feet of water under the keel to serve in the Taiwan Patrol Face. Every one of my men got a GED while on board the three got BAs from the U of Minnesota by correspondence course. We worked our butts off and only hit what we were supposed to hit. Like the PRC junk that was shadowing us with radio gear sucking down our outgoing msgs. Oops so sorry. They are now our ” pals “. Stop crying and start training. It costs a lot less than screwing up. Ask an outgoing Admiral.

  3. Hal Weiner says:

    That’s Taiwan Patrol FORCE. Not Face.

  4. Willy says:

    Thankyou for that input Hal.