The US Navy 7th Fleet formally relieved the commanding and executive officers of US destroyer USS John S McCain of duty on Wednesday (11 October) in the wake of a "preventable" collision with a tanker in August. Sanchez, who was the commander of the USS McCain on that fateful day, and Cmdr.
Admiral Swift said the collisions involving US Navy ships can not be viewed in isolation and that it was the organisation's goal to find out whether there is a common cause underlying the uptick.
Fitzgerald suffered a June 17 collision off of Japan that resulted in the death of sailors and McCain was struck by a merchant oiler off of Singapore resulting in the death of 10 sailors. Sanchez, the executive officer, were relieved of their duties and reassigned.
The operational demands on the US Navy 7th Fleet were so high that not enough emphasis was placed on sailors' preparation and training, said the new commander of the fleet on Friday (Oct 13).
The crash killed 10 U.S. sailors and injured five more. Jessie Sanchez, "exercised poor leadership of the ship's training program", the Navy's Seventh Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan said in a Tuesday statement.
In his first interview since assuming command, Vice-Adm Sawyer cited the setting up of the new Naval Surface Group Western Pacific to train and certify forward-deployed surface ships operating out of Japan as one of the ways the US Navy is bringing this balance "back to normal". Admiral Scott Smith announced his retirement from Command of the Pacific Fleet because of the two incidents. J. Sanchez was reassigned to the Ship Repair Facility at Yokosuka, home port of the 7th Fleet, the Navy said. 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. It said Cmdr. Ed Angelinas, former commanding officer of the USS McCampbell, was named acting commanding officer of the McCain.