Two Additional Navy Officers Relieved In Wake of Deadly Pacific Crashes

USS John S. McCain (DDG 56)
USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) / Getty Images

The United States Navy has relieved two additional senior officers of command following fatal collisions that took place earlier in the summer.

7th Fleet Commander, Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, announced Monday the decision to relieve Rear Adm. Charles William, commander of Task Force 70, and Capt. Jeffrey Bennett, commander of Destroyer Squadron 15, ABC News reported.

William was replaced by the commander of Task Force 76, Rear Adm. Marc Dalton. Bennet was replaced by Capt. Jonathan Duffy, deputy commander of Destroyer Squadron 15.

David Rutz breaks down the most important news about the enemies of freedom, here and around the world, in this comprehensive morning newsletter.

Sign up here and stay informed!

The Navy said the decision was made out of a "loss of confidence in their ability to command."

The decision comes in the wake of two fatal collisions near Asia involving U.S. Navy Destroyers. The USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship on June 17, resulting in the death of seven sailors aboard the U.S. ship. On Aug. 21, the USS John S. McCain was involved in a collision with a merchant ship, which killed 10 of its crew.

Sawyer's predecessor, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, was relieved of command shortly after the McCain collision in August. Also following the August collision, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson called for a "global pause in naval operations" and a "comprehensive review" in order to ensure the Navy identified all "contributing factors" and the incidents' "root causes."

The Navy is conducting active investigations into the incidents.