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USS John McCain’s Former XO Disciplined As Fallout From Deadly Collisions Sweeps Navy
The USS John S. McCain’s former executive officer has received non-judicial punishment in connection with the deadly collision with a merchant ship in August that killed 10 sailors, the Navy announced on Wednesday.
Cmdr. Jessie Sanchez, who was relieved as the McCain’s executive officer in October, was found guilty of dereliction of duties at a Feb. 12 non-judicial punishment hearing and has received a punitive letter of reprimand, according to the Navy.
The McCain was one of two Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers that collided with another ship last summer. The USS Fitzgerald had previously collided with a merchant vessel in June, killing seven sailors.
For the Navy, the back-to-back collisions have raised unsettling questions about how well sailors are trained in the basics of seamanship; whether surface warfare culture encourages sailors to go far too long without sleep; and whether the Navy is being to conduct too many missions with too few ships.
After an investigation released in November found that the collisions were preventable, the Navy announced in January that the Fitzgerald and McCain’s captains, as well as other sailors from both ships, would face Article 32 hearings on charges that include negligent homicide. The service has not yet identified all of the sailors who will appear before Article 32 hearings, the military equivalent of a grand jury proceeding, nor has the service released charge sheets on the two skippers or other sailors.
Cmdr. Alfredo Sanchez, the McCain’s former commander, is slated to appear before an Article 32 hearing on March 6 at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., followed by former Fitzgerald skipper Cmdr. Bryce Benson on March 7 and three Fitzgerald officers on March 8, officials told Task & Purpose. The Navy is not identifying at this point.
Cmdr. Jessie Sanchez was found guilty of dereliction of duty at a Feb. 12 non-judicial punishment hearing.U.S. Navy
The murkiness about the legal proceedings does not end there: On Wednesday, the Navy announced that charges against an officer and enlisted sailor from the Fitzgerald were dismissed. Navy officials refused to identify the two sailors due to privacy concerns and because the convening authority had dismissed the charges against them.
Six other sailors have faced non-judicial proceedings, including former Fitzgerald executive officer Cmdr. Sean Babbitt and Command Master Chief Brice Baldwin, both of whom received letters of reprimands. The names of the remaining four sailors are not known. One sailor’s guilty verdict was overturned, charges against two others were dismissed, and one was busted down a rank after being found guilty.
The McCain and Fitzgerald collisions have had wider recriminations for Navy leadership. Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, 7th Fleet commander, was fired shortly after the McCain incident His successor fired Rear Adm. Charles Williams, commander of Task Force 70, and Capt. Jeffrey Bennett, who led Destroyer Squadron 15. Adm. Scott Swift, former commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, announced in September that he was retiring after he learned that he had been passed over as the next head of U.S. Pacific Command, and Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden retired as head of Naval Surface Force Pacific in January after the Navy recommended he be relieved over the collisions.
The collisions have posed an uncomfortable question for Navy leadership: Is the service too small to do all the missions being asked of it?
Over time, the Navy has shrunk in terms of both ships and sailors, yet the demands on the service keep increasing as the Navy, for example, regularly sails close to man-made Chinese islands in the South China Sea to exert the U.S. right to freely navigate the region. And while current plans call for the service to grow to 355 ships in the 2050s. The Navy’s proposed budget for fiscal 2019 would add 7,500 sailors, and that is meant to ease the stress on the force, said Navy spokeswoman Lt. Lauren Chatmas.
“Gapped billets over time can result in sailors working longer hours, increased fatigue, and degradation in decision making and safety - leading to decreased morale, lower job satisfaction, lower quality of life and decreased retention,” Chatmas told Task & Purpose on Wednesday. “Ensuring our units are manned properly will ease the strain of all our sailors, and improved the overall readiness of our current and future force.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.
Nine years after losing both legs in Afghanistan, he's found purpose in family, friends and inspiring others
There's a joke that Joey Jones likes to use when he feels the need to ease the tension in a room or in his own head.
To calm himself down, he uses it to remind himself of the obstacles he's had to overcome. When he faces challenges today — big or small — it brings him back to a time when the stakes were higher.
Jones will feel out a room before using the line. For nearly a decade, Jones, 33, has told his story to thousands of people, given motivational speeches to NFL teams and acted alongside a three-time Academy Award-winning actor.
On Tuesday afternoon, he stood at the front of a classroom at his alma mater, Southeast Whitfield High School in Georgia. The room was crowded with about 30 honor students.
It took about 20 minutes, but Jones started to get more comfortable as the room warmed up to him. A student asked about how he deals with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I believe in post-traumatic growth," Jones said. "That means you go through tough and difficult situations and on the back end through recovery, you learn strength."
It didn't take long for a central theme to emerge at the funeral of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Livermore, an event attended by hundreds of area residents Friday at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.
It's a theme that stems from a widespread local belief that the men and women who have served in the nation's armed forces are held in particularly high esteem here in the southern valley.
"In Bakersfield and Kern County, we celebrate our veterans like no place else on Earth," Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin told the gathering of mourners.