Top US Navy officer ‘will step down’ over collisions of two destroyer ships which left 17 sailors dead in the Pacific

Vice Admiral Thomas Rowden is likely to step down just before the release of a report examining the collisions involving the USS Fitzgerald and USS McCain last summer The top Navy commander of America’s surface warfare forces in the Pacific is expected to resign under pressure this week over two accidents last year that cost the lives of 17 sailors at sea, it was reported on Tuesday.

Vice Admiral Thomas Rowden is likely to step down just before the release of a report examining the circumstances of the collisions involving Naval destroyers Fitzgerald and McCain last summer, Defense News reported.

The report is expected to be a damning one which will include recommendations for a series of corrective steps, including Rowden’s removal from his position.

Ten sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer USS John McCain died when it collided with a tanker east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on August 21.

Its sister ship, the USS Fitzgerald, almost sank off the Japanese coast on June 17 after colliding with a container ship. Seven crew members died.

Admiral James Caldwell, who is the director of the navy’s nuclear reactors, has been tasked by the military with investigating the incidents and determining which disciplinary actions are necessary. Ten sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer USS John McCain died when it collided with a tanker east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on August 21 As head of surface forces since August 2014, Rowden is responsible for setting policy and overseeing the manning, training, and equipping of surface ships.

Rowden is expected to be replaced by Rear Admiral Richard Brown, the current commander of Naval Personnel Command in Millington, Tennessee.

Last week, Rowden announced he would step down from his post.

By resigning this week, he essentially moved up his resignation by a few weeks.

Rowden is not the only senior officer who is likely to pay the price for the collisions in the Pacific.

In September, Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift announced his retirement after he was passed over to lead the US Pacific Command. Its sister ship, the USS Fitzgerald, almost sank off the Japanese coast on June 17 after colliding with a container ship. Seven crew members died The commanding officers of the Fitzgerald and McCain – Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William Moran and Commander Alfredo J. Sanchez, respectively – were fired from their posts last year.

The Fitzgerald and the McCain are part of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, which patrols the waters around the Korean Peninsula, Russia, and China.

The three-star officer who commanded the 7th Fleet, Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, was dismissed.Senior officers in the chain of commands of both ships were also dismissed from their jobs.In November, naval investigators said the two crashes in the Asia Pacific region were caused by preventable errors by the sailors on board the ships.The accidents raised questions about Navy training and the pace of operations, prompted a Congressional hearing and the removal of a number of officers.’Both of these accidents were preventable and the respective […]