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USS Fitzgerald Returns To Yokosuka After Suffering Damage During Loading Process
The crippled USS Fitzgerald was forced to return to its homeport Monday after suffering further damage while being loaded onto a heavy lift vessel for its trip stateside.
The guided-missile destroyer was sent back to repair two new punctures in the ship’s hull, the Navy announced Monday afternoon. The punctures were caused by the heavy lift vessel MV Transshelf’s steel support structure while the Fitzgerald was being loaded.
The Navy estimates the repairs will take several days after which the Fitzgerald will resume its journey to Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., for fixes and upgrades.
The warship was towed into deep waters early Friday so it could link up with the Transshelf for the multiday loading process.
A deadly collision on June 17 between the Fitzgerald and a Philippine-flagged merchant ship killed seven sailors and injured three others. The Navy relieved the ship’s two senior officers and a senior enlisted sailor. A slew of officer and enlisted watch standers were also held accountable for the accident.
Only about 50 sailors from the Fitzgerald’s crew of about 300 will remain aboard the ship as it travels back to the U.S., 7th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Clay Doss previously told Stars and Stripes.
“The majority of [Fitzgerald] sailors — but not all — will have opportunities to serve other commands in Japan based on available billets, individual crew desires and the needs of the Navy,” he said. “Some sailors do not desire reassignment in [Japan] and have asked for orders to other locations.
Huntington Ingalls Industries was chosen to repair the Fitzgerald because the company would be able to restore the ship in the shortest amount of time, Naval Sea Systems Command said in August.
“Given the complexity of the work and the significant unknowns of the restoration, the Navy determined that only an Arleigh Burke-class shipbuilder could perform the effort,” the statement said.
The project’s start date, scope, cost and timeline are still to be determined, it added.
The Navy decided to take the Fitzgerald back to the U.S. to free up space along Yokosuka’s waterfront for other 7th Fleet ships needing maintenance, Doss said in a previous statement.
“The main reason why the ship was not repaired here is because it would’ve tied up those resources and tied up the dry docks,” he said. “We could do it here; it’s just more cost effective and safer to go through the heavy lift route.”
The Fitzgerald incident was the first of two deadly accidents involving U.S. warships in the Pacific this year. Ten sailors were killed in August when the USS John. S. McCain — also homeported at Yokosuka — collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore.
The Navy has blamed the collisions on tired crews who hadn’t received the necessary training due to constant deployments.
©2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's withholding of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into a claim — debunked as a conspiracy theory — about the 2016 U.S. election, a senior presidential aide said on Thursday, the first time the White House acknowledged such a connection.
Trump and administration officials had denied for weeks that they had demanded a "quid pro quo" - a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor - for delivering the U.S. aid, a key part of a controversy that has triggered an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives against the Republican president.
But Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that the U.S. aid — already approved by Congress — was held up partly over Trump's concerns about a Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer server alleged to be in Ukraine.
"I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy," Mulvaney said.
‘I’m the Meryl Streep of generals’ — Mattis hits back at Trump for calling him the 'world's most overrated general'
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis decided to take on President Donald Trump's reported assertion that he is "overrated" at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York City on Thursday.
"I'm not just an overrated general, I am the greatest — the world's most — overrated," Mattis said at the event, which raises money for charity.
"I'm honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress," Mattis said. "So I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals ... and frankly that sounds pretty good to me. And you do have to admit that between me and Meryl, at least we've had some victories."
The former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs thinks that the VA needs to start researching medical marijuana. Not in a bit. Not soon. Right goddamn now.
US and Turkey agree on temporary cease fire to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from northeast Syria
The United States and Turkey have agreed to a temporary cease fire to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a safe zone that Turkey is establishing along its border with Syria, Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday.
A Navy doomsday aircraft that would play a vital communication role in the event of a nuclear war had one of its four engines replaced this month after it struck a bird at a Maryland air station.