tow Two officers relieved from USS McCain following deadly crash

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (R), with a hole on its portside after a collision with an oil tanker, is escorted by Singapore Navy RSS Intrepid (L) to Changi naval base in Singapore on August 21, 2017. ( ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

By Matt Saintsing

The commander and executive officer of the USS John S. McCain are the latest Navy officials to be relieved of their duties, almost two months after a fatal collision left 10 sailors dead.

Cmdr. Alfredo Sanchez, the guided-missile destroyer’s commanding officer, and executive officer Cmdr. Jessie Sanchez, were both “relieved due to a loss of confidence,” the Navy said in a statement Tuesday.

“While the investigation is ongoing, it is evident the collision was preventable, the commanding officer exercised poor judgment, and the executive officer exercised poor leadership of the ship’s training program.”

The remains of all 10 sailors were recovered days after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in the Straits of Malacca, near Singapore.

Alfredo Sanchez has been reassigned to Commander, Naval Forces Japan, and Jessie Sanchez was reassigned to Ship Repair Facility in Yokosuka, Japan, according to the statement.

The removals are the latest following a string of incidents at sea involving the US Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet.

The USS Antietam, a guided missile-cruiser, ran aground near its homeport base in Yokosuka, Japan, in January. In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship, killing seven sailors, and in May the USS Lake Champlain experienced a minor collision with a South Korean fishing boat.

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