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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Photo: Sgt. Amber I. Smith/U.S. Army

SEOUL (Reuters) - The Pentagon has told the White House that the U.S. military will not be politicized, a U.S. official said on Sunday, in response to a controversy after officials directed the United States Navy to keep the USS John S. McCain out of sight during a recent speech by President Donald Trump in Japan.

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President Donald Trump defended as "well meaning" the head-scratching effort by military brass to prevent the commander-in-chief from seeing the name of his Republican rival on the Navy warship that bears his name.

Trump reiterated his signature insult that he "was not a fan" of McCain, inexplicably reigniting his feud with the war hero who died of brain cancer this year.

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The White House asked the U.S. military to move the destroyer USS John S. McCain "out of sight" during President Donald Trump's recent visit to Japan, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.

Trump reacted to the story on Wednesday night by tweeting: "I was not informed about anything having to do with the Navy Ship USS John S. McCain during my recent visit to Japan. Nevertheless, @FLOTUS and I loved being with our great Military Men and Women - what a spectacular job they do!"

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