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.

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The Navy will install physical throttles on destroyers that currently use touch screen systems nearly two years after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker, which investigators blamed partially on the ship's Integrated Bridge and Navigation System.

Ten sailors aboard the McCain were killed on Aug. 21, 2017, when the destroyer turned into an oil tanker in the Singapore Strait. The collision was the result of a series of errors by the McCain's crew that began when a watch stander mistakenly transferred steering to another station.

In the confusion that followed, only one of the McCain's two propellers was slowed, causing the McCain to turn faster into the oil tanker's path, the National Transportation Safety Board found in a recent report.

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(U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton)

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

Insufficient training, severe fatigue and a lack of oversight led to a fatal 2017 Navy collision near Singapore, according to a damning new report from a government agency charged with investigating major accidents.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board slammed the Navy for a series of failures that contributed to the August 2017 collision between the destroyer John S. McCain and Alnic MC, a Liberian-flagged oil tanker near the Singapore Strait.

The accident, which tore a 28-foot hole through the McCain's hull below the waterline, was the second of two fatal Navy collisions in the region that summer. Ten McCain sailors were killed in the collision, just months after seven others died when the destroyer Fitzgerald slammed into a container ship off the coast of Japan.

"The NTSB concludes that the Navy failed to provide effective oversight of the John S McCain in the areas of bridge operating procedures, crew training, and fatigue mitigation," the report, which was released Monday, states.

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Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William McCann

The Navy has awarded fifty sailors for "their bravery and contributions to damage control efforts" after a 2017 collision between the USS John McCain and a merchant ship.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer collided with a 600-foot oil tanker near the Strait of Malacca on Aug. 21, 2017. Ten sailors died as a result of the crash.

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(Associated Press/Evan Vucci)

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

The Navy secretary is reminding military personnel in his charge that they must remain apolitical, less than a month after the sea services fielded a request from White House officials to hide a ship named for one of President Donald Trump's political rivals, and sailors were photographed sporting patches that mimicked a presidential campaign slogan.

An administrative message released on Friday warns sailors and Marines against activities that "could appear to imply sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause."

"Sailors and Marines ... have a long history of supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States," Navy Secretary Richard Spencer wrote. "Now that election season is approaching, it is appropriate for us to remember that, as military professionals, we are an apolitical body."

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SINGAPORE — The Pentagon doesn't need to investigate a White House directive for the U.S. Navy to move the warship USS John S. McCain from view before President Donald Trump's recent trip to Japan, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Sunday.

The White House military office requested the Seventh Fleet to keep the warship "hidden from view," Shanahan told reporters en route to South Korea. But the directive wasn't carried out, and "all ships remained in normal configuration during the visit," he said.

"No, I am not planning any IG investigation," Shanahan said when asked if the inspector-general would investigate. No investigation was needed "because there was nothing really carried out," he said.

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