Navy relieves two officers of duty following deadly USS McCain crash

The commanding officer and executive officer of the USS John S. McCain were relieved of their duties Tuesday, nearly two months after 10 sailors were killed when the U.S. Navy destroyer crashed into an oil tanker.

Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez and Cmdr. Jessie L. Sanchez were relieved of their positions “due to a loss of confidence,” the Navy said in a statement. Alfredo Sanchez was reassigned to Commander, Navy Forces Japan, and Jessie Sanchez was transferred to ship repair facility in Yokosuka.

“It is evident the collision was preventable, the commanding officer exercised poor judgment and the executive officer exercised poor leadership of the ship's training program,” the Navy said in its statement.


The bodies of all 10 missing sailors were recovered nearly a week after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore. Another five sailors were also injured in the crash. 

Shortly after the crash, the Navy fired the then-commander of the Japan-based 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, also citing lack of confidence.

The deadly crash prompted calls for a broader inquiry into the Pacific fleet after two deadly collision in two months. The USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided in Japan last June, killing seven sailors. In January, the USS Antietam ran aground near Yokosuka base in Japan, and in May the USS Lake Champlain had a minor collision with a South Korean fishing boat.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.