Both the commanding and executive officer of the USS John S. McCain were relieved from their duties on Tuesday. According to Fox News, the two officers were relieved on Tuesday, almost two months after 10 sailors were killed when the U.S. Navy destroyer crashed into an oil tanker.
Alfredo J. Sanchez and Jessie L. Sanchez lost the confidence of their superiors. Alfredo Sanchez was reassigned to Commander, Navy Forces Japan. Jessie Sanchez was then transferred to a ship repair facility in Yokosuka.
“It is evident the collision was preventable, the commanding officer exercised poor judgment and the executive officer exercised poor leadership of the ship's training program,” the Navy said, according to Fox News.
Reports claim that the bodies of 10 missing sailors were recovered nearly a week after the USS John S. McCain hit an oil tanker near Singapore. While 10 were killed in the crash, another 5 were injured.
To be sure, other McCain sailors bear some responsibility for the accident. While this fact is acknowledged, the Navy has historically assigned the most severe penalties to top officers involved.
According to the Washington Post, captains are in a unique position to know what the ship's strengths and weaknesses are. There is no other leadership position in the military that is quite like that of a captain of a ship or a submarine. As a result, they are held responsible when accidents such as this happen.
To date, the Navy has fired at least eight commanders following the four accidents this year, including the 7th Fleet commander, a three-star admiral who oversaw three of those ships.
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