Published: Sun, August 27, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

US Navy 7th Fleet commander to be dismissed after latest collision

US Navy 7th Fleet commander to be dismissed after latest collision

The commander of the 7th Fleet was relieved of duty on Wednesday following the McCain collision and other accidents this year that raised questions about its operations in the Pacific.

Navy officials told Stars and Stripes they had no information about whether Aucoin would be fired from his job. Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin was relieved "due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command", a navy statement said.

He assumed command of the 7th Fleet, based in Yokosuka, Japan, in September 2015.

The military says five sailors were injured and 10 were missing following Monday's collision.

Aucoin's role has come under scrutiny since a spate of incidents in the Pacific theater, including another at-sea collision between a US Navy destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, and a cargo ship off Japan's Izu Peninsula.

"When you are going through the Strait of Malacca, you can't tell me that a Navy destroyer doesn't have a full navigation team going with full lookouts on every wing and extra people on radar", said Jeff Stutzman, chief intelligence officer at Wapack Labs, a New Boston, New Hampshire, cyber intelligence service.

The move follows four Navy accidents in the Pacific since late January, including two collisions that left sailors dead and missing. And for more than 70 years, the U.S. Navy has helped guarantee the security and stability of the western Pacific.

Search efforts across a 2,100-square-mile area of ocean have been suspended as divers continue to search the vessel for the remaining nine missing sailors.

April Brandon says her son grew up in MI and then moved to Hampton Roads as teenager with his father. Brandon said, "His father and I couldn't be prouder of our son". Relatives have named at least five of the missing sailors. The identities of the missing have not been disclosed, but Partlow said her fiancee's parents were in touch with the Navy's family assistance center.

The Navy said Thursday that the investigation into the deadly crash is continuing.

The US Navy said last week that about a dozen sailors would be disciplined, and the commanding officer and other senior crew would be taken off the ship. Local police said the Navy was in communication with the family.

The incident triggered a rare worldwide "operational pause" of the US Navy's fleets as well as a review of operations.

Those who died were found in flooded berths on board the ship after the collision caused a gash under the warship's waterline. He commanded a carrier air wing aboard the USS Kitty Hawk and a carrier strike group based in Bremerton, Washington.

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