How Homicide Charges for Two Skippers Will Shake Up the Entire Navy

How Homicide Charges for Two Skippers Will Shake Up the Entire Navy - by Geoff Ziezulewicz and Mark D. Faram - Navy Times

The Navy’s decision to level criminal charges against the commanding officers of the destroyers Fitzgerald and John S. McCain is forcing the surface warfare world into a grim reckoning on how it operates, and the consequences of sailors dying on a leader’s watch.

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There are stories now surfacing that the Navy has dropped the Homicide charge against USS McCain’s CO

Homicide charges are absurd for accidents. Should not be allowed.

The CO’s lacked competence and their officers lacked competence due systemic problems with lack of training, lack of seatime, and rotating assignments. It’s a systemic problem. No need to scapegoat the COs.


Without arguing the valid point that “off vessel management” in civilian or naval organizations can have a huge impact (for better or for worse), these were not “oops we had an accident” events. They were piss poor on-board leadership failures allowing negligence to be the acceptable norm on board. That negligence was what allowed the events to go down as they did, not some ‘accident’.

I just read the illustrated digest on the El Faro. What a lousy way to begin a weekend at home. There is plenty of failures regarding the shore-side support in that disaster, but it was the Captain that sailed a ship into a hurricane, not some desk jockey.