Fitzgerald, McCain commanders face criminal charges in deadly crashes

U.S. Navy Commander Bryce Benson

Bryce Benson and Cmdr. The members' ranks include one Commander (the Commanding Officer), two Lieutenants, and one Lieutenant Junior Grade.

The charges will be presented at a military Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian arraignment.

Sanchez faces the same three charges in connection with the McCain accident, Hicks said in a statement. "All individuals alleged to have committed misconduct are entitled to a presumption of innocence".

Results from Navy investigations released in November found that both accidents were the result of human error by sailors aboard the ships, but determined that no single person could be blamed for the accidents.

Last year's calamities at sea in the Pacific were the culmination of deep-seated issues within the sea service's budget, operations and culture stretching back decades that Navy leaders are only now attempting to address, sources say.


"I have informed the chief of naval operations that this Thursday I will step aside earlier than previously planned as the commander, Naval Surface Forces, and commander, Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet", Rowden said in a statement. In addition to firing the former commanding officers of the destroyers, the Navy has also relieved the head of the Destroyer Squadron 15, the commander of the Seventh Fleet's Task Force 70, and the Seventh Fleet's top officer.

Data submitted by the Government Accountability Office in response to questions from Rep. Joe Courtney, a Connecticut Democrat, confirmed CNN's previous reporting that the crews of both the McCain and Fitzgerald failed to fulfill key training qualifications ahead of the incidents that occurred this summer.

The potential courts-martial are the latest fallout to the collisions, which shocked the Navy, prompted congressional hearings and have left the service short two $1.8 billion destroyers.

Rowden is expected to be replaced by Rear Admiral Richard Brown, the current commander of Naval Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee.

Rowden was one of the primary architects of "distributed lethality", a suite of tactics designed to deter potential enemies like Russian Federation or China but creating an offensively-minded, nimble and lethal legion of American surface warfare officers who could strike and scoot quickly to avoid detection and destruction.

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