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Captain of USS Fitzgerald during 2017 collision ordered to appear before a Navy board of inquiry
The former captain of the destroyer USS Fitzgerald who was in command during a 2017 collision that killed seven sailors will appear before a board of inquiry that could determine if he will be reduced in rank and what kind of discharge he will receive, a Navy official said.
Cmdr. Bryce Benson was asleep in his stateroom when the Fitzgerald was struck by a merchant ship in the early hours of June 17, 2017. The Navy initially charged Benson with negligent homicide, but that charge was dismissed in June 2018 and all other charges against Benson were dropped in April, in part because top Navy leaders had repeatedly blamed him for the tragedy, running afoul of unlawful command influence.
Now the chief of naval personnel has notified Benson that he will have to appear at a board of inquiry to argue why the Navy should not separate him, said his attorney Cmdr. Justin Henderson. The administrative board is called a "show cause hearing."
"The prospect of having to show cause at a board of inquiry is as disappointing news as all the other decisions that have impacted this case," Henderson told Task & Purpose.
The date for the hearing has not yet been set, he said.
A chief of naval personnel spokeswoman declined to comment specifically on the Benson board of inquiry, citing privacy concerns.
"The purpose of a BOI is to give officers a full and impartial hearing at which they may respond to and rebut the allegations which form the basis for separation for cause or retirement in the current grade or a lesser grade and present matters favorable to their case on the issues of separation and, if applicable, characterization of service," said Capt. Amy Derrick.
The Fitzgerald incident was one of two ship collisions in 2017 that cost a total of 17 sailors their lives. Subsequent investigations revealed systemic training and manning problems in 7th Fleet that were factors in both cases.
Cmdr. Alfredo Sanchez, who was commanding officer of the destroyer USS John S. McCain when it turned into the path of a tanker on Aug. 21, 2017, pleaded guilty last year to dereliction of duty as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. Ten sailors were killed in the collision.
"The death of a sailor, a mother and father's pain of losing a child, was the only thing I dreaded in command," Sanchez told the judge at his May 25, 2018 special court-martial. "Thirteen years have passed and I still vividly remember notifying my mother of the death of my sister. My family and I are still healing from our loss."
"I still see the suffering in my parents' eyes," he continued. "I see the same suffering in the eyes of the family members here today or whom I have seen at memorial services – I feel that pain with them."
A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.
It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.
Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.
No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.
Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.
Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.
In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.
"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.