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Two Navy commanders relieved after investigation into USS McCain crash

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USS McCain collision
The USS McCain heads for Shanghai after a collision that killed seven sailors.

Two Navy commanders aboard the USS John S. McCain were relieved Wednesday after the crash in August that killed 10 American sailors was ruled ‘preventable’.

Commandeering officer Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez and executive officer Cmdr. Jessie L. Sanchez were relieved “due to a loss of confidence,” according to a statement issued by the Navy’s 7th Fleet from Japan.

“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,” it continued.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, the commander of the Navy’s 7th fleet, was also relieved in the days after the Aug. 21 crash “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.”

The missile destroyer collided with an oil tanker in the South China Sea near Singapore, tearing a gaping hole in McCain’s left rear hull.

Ten sailors were killed as crew berths, machinery, and communication rooms were flooded, and another five were injured.

The crash came just two months after the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan, killing seven sailors.
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