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US Navy relieves commanders of USS John S. McCain after deadly collision

The U.S. Navy announced on Wednesday that the USS John S. McCain’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez, and executive officer, Cmdr. Jessie L. Sanchez, have been relieved of duties after the deadly collision between the guided-missile destroyer and a merchant vessel. Both were relieved due to a loss of confidence.

Although the investigation is ongoing, the Navy said “it is evident the collision was preventable, the commanding officer exercised poor judgement, and the executive officer exercised poor leadership of the ship’s training program.”

Lieutenant Commander Ray Ball, currently chief engineer of the USS Antietam, will take over as acting executive officer. Cmdr. A. Sanchez was reassigned as the commander of Naval Forces Japan and Cmdr. J. Sanchez was reassigned to Ship Repair Facility Yokosuka, also in Japan, according to the Navy.

The McCain was involved in a collision with the merchant ship Alnic MC on August 21 while traveling near the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were killed in the crash and another five were injured.

It was the fourth 7th Fleet ship to collide with another vessel since January, and fleet commander Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin was dismissed from duty two days after the wreck.

USS John S. McCain damaged
Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) near Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on August 21, 2017, which resulted in 10 deaths and 5 injuries . Image: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Madailein Abbott
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