Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Congratulations To The Navy For Charging Its Officers With Negligent Homicide
On Jan. 16, the U.S. Navy announced that it has charged five officers under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with negligent homicide, hazarding a vessel, and dereliction of duty in the deaths of 17 sailors who died as a result of the collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain with commercial ships in 2017. A chief petty officer from the USS John S. McCain has also been charged with dereliction of duty.
These charges follow a range of administrative and non-judicial actions the Navy has taken against those directly involved in the mishaps as well as those in the higher chain of command. For example, the Navy has fired the commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet; the commander of Task Force 70, which includes the aircraft carriers, destroyers, and cruisers in the 7th Fleet; and the commander of the relevant destroyer squadron. In addition, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet has been notified that he will not be nominated to lead U.S. Pacific Command and the Navy has recommended that the senior officer overseeing surface warfare service-wide be removed from his position. This will result in the forced retirement of these senior officers.
Some argue that it would have been better for the Navy to ease out the officers in question, avoiding the spotlight of cross-examination by defense attorneys. Those people think the Navy should have chosen to avoid such scrutiny.
I believe the Navy has taken the right course. I think that this is a courageous decision by the our Navy to demonstrate to all — our political leadership, the American people and, most importantly, all members of the Navy itself — that those who are entrusted with the responsibility for the lives of our sailors will be held accountable for their failure to meet that responsibility.
In my opinion, a publicly announced court-martial proceeding that is open and transparent will have to be fair and will be seen as such. This, combined with the punishment, non-promotion, and forced retirement of others in the responsible chain of command demonstrates that the Navy holds its leaders accountable for their actions.
Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Bushell stands on the bridge of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain. Bushell was killed in the McCain collision.U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Mortensen
Furthermore, I think the Navy should be both praised and emulated by not only the other military services, but all government departments and agencies. While there may be some initial dismay at what conditions inside the Navy contributed to these tragic accidents, I believe the result will be that the Navy and its current leadership will be held in much higher regard across the board. If this causes any fearful Naval officers to retire or resign rather than take command of a ship, then the Navy and our nation will be better for it.
Lin Todd, Ph.D., is a former U.S. Army war planner, Middle East/North Africa foreign area officer and helicopter pilot. He was seconded by the State Department as a Deputy Head of Mission of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia 1997-1999 and served as Deputy Director of the MOD/Joint Staff Office of the Military Stabilization Program in Bosnia in 1996-1997. He also has served as an intelligence officer for DIA, the Joint Staff, and Central Command during Operation Desert Storm.
An Army veteran from Columbus claimed he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after a deployment in Afghanistan that earned him a Purple Heart and Silver Star.
As a result, he collected $76,000 in benefits for the mental condition.
He admitted Wednesday, however, that all of that was a lie.
He was not deployed to Afghanistan, never suffered PTSD and never received the two honors, which are among the highest bestowed for military service.
SAN DIEGO — Days after Rep. Duncan Hunter pleaded guilty to a federal felony related to a yearslong campaign finance scandal, he has finally stated explicitly that he will resign from his congressional seat before the end of his term.
"Shortly after the holidays I will resign from Congress," Hunter, R-Calif., in a statement. "It has been an honor to serve the people of California's 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years."
A collision between a Coast Guard boat and a Navy vessel near Kodiak Island, Alaska on Wednesday landed six coasties and three sailors to the hospital, officials said.
The Navy has identified the two Defense Department civilians who were killed in a shooting Wednesday at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii.
A shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida has left four people dead, including the gunman, law enforcement officials said at a Friday news conference.
The shooter and two victims were killed at the base and another victim died after being taken to the hospital, said Chip Simmons, deputy chief of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
Another seven people remain hospitalized, including two sheriff's deputies who engaged the gunman, Simmons said at Friday's news conference. One was hit in the arm and the other was shot in the knee. Both are expected to recover.