Thursday, April 11, 2019

Justice Delayed & Then Thrown Away ... and a New CNO

In almost half the time it took to fight and win WWII, the families of those Sailors killed in the FITZGERALD collision in WESTPAC have waited for justice; for some accountability - some understanding - as to why their loved ones died in their rack.

Well, we have this;
The Navy is expected Thursday to drop criminal charges against the commanding officer of the warship Fitzgerald and another officer who were facing court-martial trials tied to the fatal 2017 collision with a merchant vessel, according to Navy officials and the family of one of the fallen sailors.

Navy Times obtained a letter to the family of one of the sailors drowned in the disaster and it indicated that Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson was dropping charges against the Fitz’s skipper at the time of the collision, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, and the tactical action officer, Lt. Natalie Combs.

“The cases are being dismissed for legal reasons that impede the continued prosecution of either officer,” the message states.

Instead, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer will issue letters of censure to both officers, the message stated.
If there was ever a case that needed Court Martial, it was this.

How will CDR Benson and LT Combs ever have their day in court to either be held accountable for their professional conduct - or let the evidence prove that they are not to blame?

Where is the justice for them ... and for the dead ... and for the families ... and for our nation and its Navy.

We deserved to know more about why the charges are dropped. Congress needs to perform its oversight of the Navy on this issue. The deaths, the hundreds of millions of dollars of damage, the strategic damage done to our reputation in a part of the world where "face" matters.

This is UNSAT, needs to be treated as UNSAT, and I hope it all breaks in to the open.

This story, in a just world, should be far from over.

Sadly, this is a shadow over what should be good news. I hope that wasn't the plan - to sweep away the old-CNO errata prior to the new, or to make smoke - but here you go;
The man President Donald J. Trump has nominated to replace Adm. John Richardson as the Navy’s 32nd chief of naval operations is a Cold War aviator who helped reinvent the sea service as its top personnel officer.

If confirmed by the Senate, Adm. William Francis “Bill” Moran will fleet up from his position as the vice chief of naval operations to take the helm of a Navy in flux, pursuing a fleet of 355 warships during an era of increasing competition from Russia, China and other rising powers.

In a prepared statement emailed to Navy Times, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer welcomed the White House on the nomination of Moran, calling him “a stalwart partner and adviser."
Admiral Bill Moran, USN is the real deal. What you see is what you get. At least from this chair, he has a large account of professional and personal capital to draw on. This is a great leader and as such, a great opportunity for our Navy.

As a side note, he joined us twice on Midrats, give it a listen if you have not yet.

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