The commander and executive officer of the USS John S McCain were relieved of their duties Wednesday due to lost confidence after the warship and an oil tanker collided near Singapore in August.
The US Navy will deploy alternative guided-missile destroyers to cover gaps left by two ballistic missile defense-capable destroyers that were damaged in collisions with merchant ships, amidst growing nuclear threats by North Korea.
The USS McCain collision, which claimed 10 sailors and injured 5 others, was one of the accidents that occurred in a series of mishaps that exposed the Navy's leadership and training shortcomings.
Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez, the commanding officer, and Cmdr.
On his choice of Singapore as the place to give his first media interview in his new role, Vice-Adm Sawyer said that it shows there is "no doubt" that Singapore is one of the US Navy's strategic partners.
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Cmdr. A. Sanchez was reassigned to Commander, Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ) and Cmdr.
The crash killed 10 USA sailors and injured five more.
While the investigation is ongoing, 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. It was one of several accidents in the region that raised concern over the safety and operational effectiveness of United States naval vessels. Earlier in June, the USS Fitzgerald slammed into a Japanese merchant ship in June resulting in seven sailors deaths.
The Navy fired the then-commander of the Japan-based 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, shortly after the McCain's crash. J. Sanchez was reassigned to Ship Repair Facility (SRF) Yokosuka. Navy officials concluded that the damage sustained by the McCain could be repaired in Japan which will allow sailors assigned to the ship and their families to stay nearby and not relocate to a stateside fix site. Ed Angelinas and USS Antietam chief engineer Lt. Cmdr.