The Navy has relieved both the commanding officer and the executive officer of USS John S. McCain of their duties over leadership failures related to the fatal crash with a merchant vessel that killed 10 sailors under their command.
A statement from the U.S. 7th Fleet reads:
The commanding officer, Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez, and executive officer, Cmdr. Jessie L. Sanchez, of the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) were relieved of their duties by Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, Commander, Seventh Fleet, on Oct. 11. Both were relieved due to a loss of confidence …
While the investigation is ongoing, it is evident the collision was preventable, the commanding officer exercised poor judgement, and the executive officer exercised poor leadership of the ship’s training program.
Cmdr. A. Sanchez was reassigned to Commander, Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ) and Cmdr. J. Sanchez was reassigned to Ship Repair Facility (SRF) Yokosuka.
Although reassigned, it is unlikely either will ever be promoted, and it is even less likely they will remain in the military. The statement also announced that their temporary replacements are former USS McCampbell commanding officer Cmdr. Ed Angelinas and USS Antietam chief engineer Lt. Cmdr. Ray Ball, respectively.
Similar actions were taken following the crash of the USS Fitzgerald. It is likely additional punishments further down the McCain’s chain of command will come, as well.