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Navy Reveals Findings From Bonohomme Richard Fire

Photo by Lt. John J. Mike/U.S. Navy via Getty Images

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Harry Wilmerding Contributor
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The Navy announced several failures caused by commanders, crew members and other sailors that led to a five-day-long fire in July 2020 that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard, the Associated Press reported.

One sailor, Seaman Apprentice Ryan Sawyer Mays, was charged with aggravated arson and willful hazarding of a vessel while another 36 crew members’ actions led or contributed to the blaze that destroyed the ship, according to a U.S. Navy report, reviewed by the AP.  The Navy also announced failures in training, coordination, communication, fire preparedness, equipment maintenance and overall command on the ship.

“Although the fire was started by an act of arson, the ship was lost due to an inability to extinguish the fire,” the report stated, according to the AP.  The Navy concluded the report by saying the “inadequately prepared crew” failed to respond and delivered “an ineffective fire response.”

The report, which is expected to be released Wednesday, also blamed a three-star admiral for leadership failures and the ship’s three top officers, two of which are captains, for ineffective preparations, according to the AP. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Elite Military Unit Risks Mass Exodus Over Vaccine Mandate, Retired Member Says)

Mays denied starting the fire, and his hearing is scheduled to happen later in October, according to The Wall Street Journal. Over 50 sailors and civilians were injured during the fire.

The Bonhomme Richard cost $750 million to build in the 1990s and was recently updated to carry F-35 jet fighters in the Pacific Ocean, according to the WSJ.

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