SEVERE WX : Special Weather Statement View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Navy ships in deadly collisions had lengthy training lapses

Two US Navy destroyers involved in deadly collisions this year -- the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald -- had le...

Posted: Dec 13, 2017 9:56 AM
Updated: Dec 13, 2017 9:56 AM

Two US Navy destroyers involved in deadly collisions this year -- the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald -- had lengthy records of expired training certifications and some requirements had lapsed for more than two years, according to a new report obtained by CNN.

New data submitted by the Government Accountability Office in response to questions from Rep. Joe Courtney, a Connecticut Democrat, confirmed CNN's previous reporting that both the McCain and Fitzgerald failed to fulfill key training qualifications ahead of the incidents that occurred this summer.

Seven of the McCain's 22 certifications were expired as of June 26, 2017 -- two of which had lapsed for more than two years

The Fitzgerald had 15 of 22 expired certifications and most of its training requirements had lapsed for nearly a year

Seven of the McCain's 22 certifications were expired as of June 26, 2017 -- two of which had lapsed for more than two years, according to the report.

The crew had failed to renew its cruise missile qualification for 28 months and its surface fire support training for 26 months, the data reveals.

The Fitzgerald had 15 of 22 expired certifications as of the same date and most of its training requirements had lapsed for nearly a year.

In September, CNN first reported on the ships' dismal training records and the latest GAO assessment continues to shed light on one factor that may have contributed to the two collisions with commercial ships in June and August, which killed 17 sailors.

Out of the "Tier Two" mission areas for certification that the GAO focused on during its September congressional testimony, 10 of 10 were expired on the Fitzgerald and six of 10 were expired for the McCain.

Expired certifications listed for the Fitzgerald in the latest GAO data included areas related to seamanship (10 months), communications (9 months), and several key warfare mission areas.

Courtney said in an interview that he was particularly concerned to learn of the length that some of the certifications had lapsed.

"This is not some temporary coincidence or confluence of a momentary event -- that list describes a chronic issue," Courtney said. "I think it loops back to the fact that why are standards in the 7th Fleet not being maintained at the same level as other parts of the Navy in other parts of the world?"

The US Navy and Pacific Command did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

When CNN first reported on the certification data in September, a Navy official argued that the GAO was focused on higher-level warfighting certifications and not the nuts-and-bolts certifications for operating ships where the Pacific fleet's destroyers and cruisers have a better record.

John Pendleton, the GAO's director of defense force structure and readiness issues, testified earlier this year that eight of the 11 destroyers and cruisers in the Pacific, or 73%, had expired training certifications for seamanship and undersea warfare, and 64% had cruise missile and surface warfare certifications that had expired.

Pendleton said at the time that seamanship stood out as a problem area.

The deadly destroyer accidents -- along with two Navy cruiser collisions in the Pacific earlier this year -- prompted the dismissal of the Navy's 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, as well as multiple reviews of the way the Navy trains, maintains and deploys its fleet that's stretched thin.

Preliminary findings in the Navy's Fitzgerald investigation -- which CNN reported in July -- determined that the crew failed to understand and acknowledge the cargo ship was approaching and failed to take any action necessary to avoid the collision.

The ship's commanding officer, executive officer and senior non-commissioned officer were relieved of their duties following the collision.

The USS McCain's training record was better than the USS Fitzgerald's, but the ship was still overdue on a majority of its training certifications.

The training records of the McCain and Fitzgerald were worse than the average warship in the Pacific, but they weren't the only ones with training problems.

GAO testimony released earlier this year revealed that expired training certifications for the Navy's 11 cruisers and destroyers based in Japan had skyrocketed five-fold from 7% in January 2015 to 37% in June. Two-thirds of the certifications had been expired for at least five months.

Training issues have been particularly acute for ships based in Japan.

The Navy has moved toward a model of basing ships abroad so they can deploy more quickly and frequently, but that method has come at the cost of training and maintenance, the GAO has warned.

According to past GAO reports, ships based overseas had less time for training and maintenance time compared to ships that call US ports home, and Pendleton testified that ships in Japan had no dedicated training periods at all.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 453808

Reported Deaths: 6131
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin941381495
Ramsey40509748
Dakota33463350
Anoka31283368
Washington20471234
Stearns18051190
St. Louis13916247
Scott1213098
Wright11756107
Olmsted1073975
Sherburne827868
Carver703139
Clay657684
Rice621170
Kandiyohi556772
Blue Earth546833
Crow Wing489178
Otter Tail463167
Chisago458138
Benton423288
Winona394248
Douglas378466
Nobles374447
Mower372129
Goodhue355362
Polk330660
McLeod327947
Beltrami315048
Morrison314145
Lyon304738
Becker288839
Itasca287143
Isanti284842
Carlton283543
Steele278510
Pine269614
Freeborn253623
Todd233130
Nicollet227938
Brown217434
Mille Lacs215045
Le Sueur213516
Cass210524
Meeker201233
Waseca192816
Wabasha17413
Martin171726
Roseau166317
Hubbard150238
Redwood141027
Houston139814
Dodge13864
Renville138040
Chippewa132332
Cottonwood128918
Fillmore12646
Wadena120218
Rock111912
Aitkin111233
Sibley10947
Faribault108816
Watonwan10688
Pennington101016
Kanabec99318
Pipestone96423
Yellow Medicine94916
Murray9096
Jackson87310
Swift84418
Pope7465
Stevens7078
Marshall70315
Clearwater68714
Lake66315
Lac qui Parle66016
Wilkin6349
Koochiching60310
Lincoln4892
Big Stone4693
Unassigned44568
Grant4388
Norman4258
Mahnomen4147
Kittson37320
Red Lake3204
Traverse2613
Lake of the Woods1961
Cook1150

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 310915

Reported Deaths: 4432
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46760465
Linn18037279
Scott15838172
Black Hawk14076243
Woodbury13111181
Johnson1228552
Dubuque11615159
Pottawattamie9146115
Dallas907772
Story879438
Cerro Gordo472572
Webster472077
Sioux459657
Warren458039
Clinton457768
Marshall430762
Buena Vista396230
Muscatine395878
Des Moines394943
Plymouth352870
Wapello349898
Jasper331659
Lee324132
Marion308953
Jones274650
Henry267331
Carroll258234
Bremer249848
Crawford234324
Washington222933
Boone222717
Benton213050
Mahaska197637
Jackson194932
Tama190159
Dickinson188329
Kossuth178544
Delaware176036
Clay172021
Wright166624
Fayette165924
Hamilton162230
Buchanan162024
Winneshiek160820
Harrison158162
Hardin156931
Cedar155519
Clayton153849
Butler150924
Page146415
Floyd141436
Cherokee140027
Mills138517
Lyon137533
Poweshiek134924
Hancock131524
Allamakee130930
Iowa127722
Madison123610
Calhoun12349
Grundy122528
Jefferson122125
Winnebago121729
Mitchell116837
Louisa116230
Cass114843
Chickasaw113712
Appanoose112440
Sac112015
Emmet111232
Union111023
Humboldt106619
Shelby105427
Guthrie104224
Franklin103318
Unassigned10110
Palo Alto91711
Montgomery88324
Keokuk86326
Howard85519
Monroe82220
Clarke8108
Pocahontas78111
Ida75930
Davis70121
Greene6977
Adair69620
Monona67018
Lucas66610
Osceola64711
Worth6184
Taylor5999
Fremont5246
Van Buren50215
Decatur4964
Ringgold44811
Audubon4218
Wayne41921
Adams2993
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Cloudy
13° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 5°
Feels Like: 13°
Mason City
Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 23° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 9°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 20° Lo: 3°
Feels Like: 7°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 2°
Feels Like: -2°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: -4°
Prepare for a chilly night
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events