Special Report: USS Fitzgerald Collision

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USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) was involved in a collision with a merchant vessel at approximately 2:30 a.m. local time, June 17, while operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.

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We honor our fallen shipmates.

Posted by U.S. Navy on Sunday, June 18, 2017

An information center is being set up at the Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Fleet and Family Support Center with…

Posted by U.S. Navy on Friday, June 16, 2017

“As more information is learned, we will be sure to share to it with the Fitzgerald families and when appropriate the public. Thank you for your well wishes and messages of
Statement by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson
"Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the Sailors. We thank our Japanese partners for their assistance" said Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Statement by Adm. Scott Swift, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Statement by Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet (June 17)

USS Fitzgerald Involved in Collision

USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) was involved in a collision with a merchant vessel at approximately 2:30 a.m. local time, June 17, while operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.

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U.S.-Japan SAR Efforts Continue for 7 Missing Fitzgerald Sailors

Search and rescue efforts continue by U.S. and Japanese aircraft and surface vessels in the hopes of recovering seven USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) Sailors.

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USS Fitzgerald Returns to Yokosuka

USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), aided by tug boats, returned to Yokosuka at 6:15 p.m. June 17.

Approximately 16 hours earlier, it was involved in a collision with the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal while operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. Seven of Fitzgerald’s crew remain missing.

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Good Evening USS Dewey Families and Friends,Early this morning, USS Dewey (DDG 105) was called upon to render immediate…

Posted by USS Dewey (DDG 105) on Saturday, June 17, 2017

Number of USS Fitzgerald Sailors’ Remains Found

A number of Sailors’ remains that were missing from the collision between USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and a merchant ship have been found.

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Vice Adm. Aucoin Holds Press Conference about USS Fitzgerald Collision

The following are U.S. 7th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin’s prepared remarks for a press conference held June 18 at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, about the collision of USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) with a merchant vessel June 17.

Thanks for coming today.

USS Fitzgerald experienced extensive damage and flooding after a collision with the Filipino container ship at 0220 local time, 17 June, approx. 56 nm off the coast of Honshu, Japan.

The damage included a significant impact under the ship’s pilothouse on the starboard side and a large puncture below the ship’s waterline, opening the hull to the sea.

The ship suffered severe damage rapidly flooding three large compartments that included one machinery room and two berthing areas for 116 crew. The commanding officer’s cabin was also directly hit, trapping the CO inside.

The crew’s response was swift and effective, and I want to point out – as we stand by the ship – how proud I am of them.

Heroic efforts prevented the flooding from catastrophically spreading which could have caused the ship to founder or sink. It could have been much worse.

The crew navigated the ship into one of the busiest ports in the world with a magnetic compass and backup navigation equipment. One of two shafts were locked.

Because of the tireless damage control efforts of a resolute and courageous team, the ship was able to make its way back to port safely on its own power last evening.

The Fitzgerald crew responded professionally as all Sailors are expected to fight the damage sustained to their ship. They are known as the “Fighting Fitz” and the crew lived up to that name.

We owe it to our families and the Navy to understand what happened. Under my authority, I am initiating a JAGMAN investigation into this collision, and I will appoint a flag officer to lead that investigation. There will also be a safety investigation.

The U.S. Coast Guard is to take the lead on the marine casualty investigation.

We recognize that there are other organizations who have equities in this incident, and we expect they will conduct their own separate investigations. More information on any further investigations will be forthcoming.

I will not speculate on how long these investigations will last.

As you are aware, we have found the remains of a number of our missing shipmates. Our deepest sympathies are with the families of these Sailors.

Out of concern for the families and the notification process, I will decline to state how many we have found at this time. We owe that to the families and friends of these shipmates and hope you can respect this process.

We will update you after all notifications have been made.

We have transferred remains to Naval Hospital Yokosuka. The families are being notified and will be provided the support they need at this difficult time. Please keep them in your thoughts are prayers.

Their loved ones are what makes this Navy great, so this loss is something we all do feel. The names of the deceased will be released soon.

Unfortunately we don’t have the details regarding the conditions during their final moments, but hope that the investigation may shed some light on that matter.

At the same time, I want to express my most heartfelt appreciation to our Japanese allies for their swift support and assistance.

Japanese Coast Guard ships and helicopters were the first on scene and our first medevac, the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, was accomplished thanks to a JMSDF helicopter.

A second medevac was performed for two Sailors with minor injuries. All three patients are alert and under observation at Naval Hospital Yokosuka.

We set up a USS Fitzgerald Emergency Family Assistance Center within hours, and disseminated the phone numbers to their hotlines through social media and Navy websites.

This support center remains open for chaplain and counselor care indefinitely, 24/7, on the Fleet and Family Support Center’s 4th floor.

But to be clear: my sole focus now has shifted to helping the grieving family, crew and friends of the Fitzgerald.

The Navy family comes together during a tragedy, and I want to thank the entire Yokosuka community rallying their support in these difficult days. Fellow Sailors, family members and civilian members of the Navy team were all out here last night to welcome Fitzgerald home and provide the crew and grieving families with food, blankets, clothes and emotional support. MWR, Port Operations, NEX, USO, the Chief Petty Officer Mess and many others pulled together to help out.

I ask all of you to keep the affected families in your thoughts and prayers, and respect their privacy as we work to get them the answers they deserve regarding their loved ones.

Editor’s note: These remarks are also posted on Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet’s website.

U.S. Navy Identifies 7 Deceased Fitzgerald Sailors
The remains of seven Sailors previously reported missing were located in flooded berthing compartments, after divers gained access to the spaces, June 18, that were damaged when USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) was involved in a collision with the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal.

Read more on Navy.mil.

Statement from Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley

We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our fellow shipmates as a result of Friday’s collision between USS Fitzgerald and a commercial container ship, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families.

Read more on Navy.mil.


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Special Report: USS Fitzgerald Collision

Surface Warfare Week: Vital Education Tool for Our Nation’s Future Officers

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By Vice Adm. Tom Rowden
Commander, Naval Surface Forces

There are many constants in the life of surface warfare officers: getting underway on a ship, making sure our Sailors and ships are ready to deploy, and every summer, hosting midshipmen from our nation’s universities.

Midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy and Reserve Officer Training Corps units from around the nation participate in yearly summer training. I believe investing fleet time in training our future leaders is extremely important to extending our legacy of maritime dominance for years to come. Perhaps one of most influential events we conduct is “Core Training for Midshipmen” (CORTRAMID) and “Professional Training for Midshipmen” (PROTRAMID).

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Feb. 13, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) fires a 5-inch lightweight gun during a live fire exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Feb. 13, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) fires a 5-inch lightweight gun during a live fire exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/Released)

I still remember my midshipman summer experience 37 years later like it was yesterday. And what I learned then, I still use today. As it happens, during my summer training as a midshipman, I had the opportunity to meet one of our great naval leaders, Vice Adm. “Hank” Mustin, aboard the frigate USS Miller. He spoke to the officers in the ship’s wardroom and he left me with a lasting memory. He emphatically stated, “the United States Navy exists to control the sea.” His words are as applicable today as they were decades ago.

Midshipmen 3rd class Keegan Kush, from Omaha, Neb., participates in a sea and anchor detail aboard the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).
Midshipmen 3rd class Keegan Kush, from Omaha, Neb., participates in a sea and anchor detail aboard the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).

CORTRAMID is designed to educate ROTC midshipmen going into their sophomore year of college about fleet operations, while PROTRAMID is focused on rising juniors at the Naval Academy. Both month-long training blocks consist of the same curriculum, one week in each of the major communities: surface warfare, submarine force, naval aviation and the Marine Corps. The major distinction setting this training apart from all others is that once it’s completed and the midshipmen return to their schools, they are required to sign the five-year commitment to continue forward in their commissioning programs. No pressure!

On Monday, we’ll kick off the 2017 CORTRAMID/PROTRAMID season and I wholeheartedly believe this training is vital for these future naval officers. The month they spend with the fleet sets the framework for their perception of each community and hopefully sheds some light on the reality of each as well. For the surface warfare community, it’s our duty, and an honor, to help teach them about what it is we do. We accomplish the orientation during Surface Warfare Week, more commonly called Surface Warfare Officer Week. I want it to be known that SWO Week is, if nothing else, an essential education tool that allows midshipmen to get their questions answered, in operational environments, prior to service selection.

The Littoral Combat Ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) sails alongside USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as part of a strait transit demonstration during the aircraft carrier's Sustainment Exercise off the coast of Southern California, April 14. Fort Worth, a semi-planing, mono-hull vessel, is a fast, agile, and mission-focused platform designed to employ modular mission packages that can be configured for three separate purposes: surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare. The ship is designed to operate in hostile near-shore environments, known as "the littorals", and to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. Fort Worth is the second of the Freedom variant of LCS. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Phil Ladouceur/Released)
The Littoral Combat Ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) sails alongside USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as part of a strait transit demonstration during the aircraft carrier’s Sustainment Exercise off the coast of Southern California. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Phil Ladouceur/Released)

It’s my desire for them to be as informed as possible before making this life altering decision. I cannot – and we shouldn’t – make the choice for them. Everyone has their place in our great Navy and while we pride ourselves on diversity, we need to be mindful that not everyone is meant to be a surface warfare officer and that is absolutely all right. I want each and every midshipman to choose the community that is best for him or her; to do what they love and be the best officer they can be in service to our great Navy. We just need to ensure that the time they spent learning about the SWO community is educational and represents the broad spectrum of what our community has to offer them upon commissioning.

We achieve this goal through a designed program that not only gets midshipmen underway on multiple platforms of ships, but also integrates the training with non-conventional pipelines like riverine squadrons and naval beach group and takes them to the Basic Division Officer Course where they will receive formal training as junior officers once commissioned and formally assigned to the SWO community. We also provide interactions with junior officers and chief petty officers from the waterfront who are currently stationed aboard surface ships. These active duty leaders mentor small groups through the week’s schedule and a SWO Week competition; most importantly, they answer questions about our great community. We wrap-up the week in a more relaxed environment, a barbecue social where other junior officers and chiefs from the waterfront come to support and answer any last queries about surface warfare.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (March 23, 2015) Ensign Joseph Lillie, from Lakewood, Ohio, stands officer of the deck watch at the radar console aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58). Laboon is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Desmond Parks/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (March 23, 2015) Ensign Joseph Lillie stands officer of the deck watch at the radar console aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Desmond Parks/Released)

For general guidance, I can tell the midshipmen that the surface warfare community remains committed to putting the most advanced ships in the hands of the most capable Sailors. Among all warfare communities, they will be the first to hit the deck plates, leading Sailors almost immediately following commissioning. Furthermore, our junior officers have the rewarding experience of driving the world’s most capable ships and employing our most sophisticated weapons systems. When midshipmen select surface warfare, they will start out on their first ship having more responsibility than their civilian counterparts might ever have.

Our community is on the leading edge of adopting personnel policies that are increasingly rewarding for the most talented officers. Our officers have unique opportunities to pursue graduate level education, intern at some of the most prestigious companies, and train to become an expert tactician in the fleet. The officers that join the surface community will have the satisfaction of leading Sailors in the midst of a rapidly changing maritime security environment.

EVERETT, Wash. (Nov. 1, 2016) Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, speaks to Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) during his visit to Naval Station Everett.. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Montemarano/Released)
EVERETT, Wash. (Nov. 1, 2016) Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, speaks to Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) during his visit to Naval Station Everett. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Montemarano/Released)

I truly believe it’s the experience and perspective gained throughout this orientation week that allows us to leave an indelible impression upon each midshipman as we send them back to their commissioning sources better informed about the fleet and more knowledgeable in the process. The talent we attract now is tomorrow’s leadership of the surface force. I sincerely thank all of the units and personnel that will help make CORTRAMID/PROTRAMID 2017 our best summer yet for surface warfare education. I look forward to meeting some of the next generation of naval officers, include those who will select surface warfare.


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Surface Warfare Week: Vital Education Tool for Our Nation’s Future Officers

Your Navy Operating Forward – Souda Bay, Gulf of Oman, Mediterranean Sea

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Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.

SASEBO, Japan: Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1666, assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, approaches the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) during an ammunition onload. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaleb R. Staples/Released)
SASEBO, Japan: Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1666, assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, approaches the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) during an ammunition onload. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaleb R. Staples/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Sailors stand watch on the forecastle of the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) as it pulls into Souda Bay, Greece. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Sailors stand watch on the forecastle of the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) as it pulls into Souda Bay, Greece. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/Released)
SOUTH CHINA SEA: The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) transits the South China Sea. (U.S. Navy photo Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sara B. Sexton/Released)
SOUTH CHINA SEA: The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) transits the South China Sea. (U.S. Navy photo Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sara B. Sexton/Released)
SOUDA BAY, Greece: The guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) arrives in Souda Bay, Greece. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alyssa Weeks/Released)
SOUDA BAY, Greece: The guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) arrives in Souda Bay, Greece. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alyssa Weeks/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) breaks away after a replenishment-at-sea with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alyssa Weeks/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) breaks away after a replenishment-at-sea with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alyssa Weeks/Released)
GULF OF OMAN: Two rigid-hull inflatable boats assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) approach an Iranian-flagged dhow during an approach and assist visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brianna K. Green/Released)
GULF OF OMAN: Two rigid-hull inflatable boats assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) approach an Iranian-flagged dhow during an approach and assist visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brianna K. Green/Released)
SASEBO, Japan: Landing craft utility (LCU) 1666, assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, approaches the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) during an ammunition onload. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chris Williamson/Released)
SASEBO, Japan: Landing craft utility (LCU) 1666, assigned to Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7, approaches the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) during an ammunition onload. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chris Williamson/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) fires a Mark 45 5-inch gun during a live-fire exercise.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alyssa Weeks/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) fires a Mark 45 5-inch gun during a live-fire exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alyssa Weeks/Released)

Tell us which photo best shows YOUR Navy Operating Forward !


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Your Navy Operating Forward – Souda Bay, Gulf of Oman, Mediterranean Sea