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)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Shortly after seven sailors died aboard USS Fitzgerald when she collided with a merchant ship off Japan in 2017, I wrote that the Fitzgerald's watch team could have been mine. My ship had once had a close call with me on watch, and I had attempted to explain how such a thing could happen. "Operating ships at sea is hard, and dangerous. Stand enough watches, and you'll have close calls," I wrote at the time. "When the Fitzgerald's investigation comes out, I, for one, will likely be forgiving."

The investigations, both public and private, are out, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report assessing the changes to training implemented since the collisions.

So, am I forgiving? Yes — for some.

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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)

A previously-undisclosed internal investigation into the 2017 collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a Philippine-flagged container ship off the coast of Japan paints an disturbing portrait of operations aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, according to an explosive report by Navy Times.

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Navy photo.

The former captain of the destroyer USS Fitzgerald has been referred to a general court-martial in connection with a deadly 2017 collision that killed seven sailors, but he will not face a charge of negligent homicide.

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U.S. Navy / Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Madailein Abbott.

Now that the destroyer USS John S. McCain’s former commanding officer has pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty, the Navy will be spared having to publicly discuss the training and manning problems that contributed to the ship’s deadly collision last year. The Navy says it is currently addressing those underlying problems.

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Attorneys for the former captain of the Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald, charged with negligent homicide in the deaths of seven U.S. sailors during last July’s collision with a commercial vessel off the coast of Japan, have lashed out at the Navy for allegedly “litigating this case through the media.”

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Photo via DoD

The Navy’s investigation into two separate collisions with commercial vessels involving two Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers over the summer has found that both incidents were completely avoidable, the branch announced on Nov. 1.

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