The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) returns to Fleet Activities Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, June 17, 2017 (U.S. Navy photo)

Two years after a pair of deadly collisions involving Navy ships killed 17 sailors and caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage, the Navy still can't figure out whether its plan to improve ship-driving training has been effective.

In fact, according to senior Navy officials quoted in a recent Government Accountability Office report on Navy ship-driving, it could take nearly 16 years or more to know if the planned changes will actually have an impact.

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Some 74 years ago, Richard Thelen, a then-18-year-old gunner's mate on the cruiser Indianapolis, vaulted into the air when a Japanese tornado sank the ship on July 30, 1945.

"I remember mostly how quickly it sunk. I had to stay alive out there. Every time I was ready to give up, I felt my dad's grip, and saw his face," said Thelen.

Only 317 of the ship's 1,196 sailors survived after five days afloat in the Pacific. Some died from dehydration; others were killed by sharks. It was the biggest loss of life in the Navy's history.

Now, a new Indianapolis is ready for service.

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Few things say "I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubble gum" like a Navy amphibious assault craft absolutely covered with Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighters ready to bomb an adversary back to the Stone Age.

That's the logic behind the so-called "Lightning Carrier" concept designed to turn those "Gator Navy" amphibs into ad hoc aircraft carriers — and the Corps appears to be moving slowly but surely into turning that concept into a new doctrine for the new era of great power competition.

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Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

QUANTICO MARINE CORPS BASE, Virginia -- Textron Systems is working with the Navy to turn a mine-sweeping unmanned surface vessel designed to work with Littoral Combat Ships into a mine-hunting craft armed with Hellfire missiles and a .50-caliber machine gun.

Textron displayed the proof-of-concept, surface-warfare mission package designed for the Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) at Modern Day Marine 2019.

"It's a huge capability," Wayne Prender, senior vice president for Applied Technologies and Advanced Programs at Textron Systems, told Military.com on Tuesday.

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The crews of the Coast Guard Cutters Kimball (WMSL 756) and Midgett (WMSL 757) transit past Dimond Head on Oahu, Hawaii, Aug. 16, 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew West)

Hey, Coasties: What would you do if you had millions of dollars? Well, I'll tell you what I'd do: Two cutters at the same time, man.

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The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) transits the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sawyer Haskins)

The Navy is having its sailors train on an aircraft carrier weapon system that the service is planning to rip out of its Nimitz-class carriers due to its ineffectiveness.

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