COLLISION AT SEA COSTS CAPTAIN CAREER
CAPT CHUCK LITCHFIELD RELIEVED OF COMMAND
HAD BEEN SKIPPER OF AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT
SHIP ESSEX - LAST MAY, ESSEX SLAMMED INTO
REPLENISHMENT OILER YUKON OFF SAN DIEGO
NO ONE KILLED, BUT EXPENSIVE DAMAGE TO
BOTH SHIPS - BAD RUDDER GETS PARTIAL BLAME

©2012 MilitaryCorruption.com

For a commanding officer on a U.S. Navy ship, there is no margin for error. So when the amphibious assault ship Essex collided with the oiler Yukon off San Diego last month, the Essex skipper knew his days were numbered.

Capt. Chuck Litchfield has now been made to "walk the plank."

The Houston, Tex. native and graduate of the University of Colorado can kiss his Naval career "good-bye." He was relieved of command by Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber, C.O. of Expeditionary Strike Group Three.

The boilerplate was, the admiral fired Litchfield for "lack of confidence in his ability to command."

A BAD RUDDER, BUT ALSO MISTAKES ON THE BRIDGE

While some of the problem from the May 16 collision, as the Essex and Yukon were getting ready to return to San Diego, was partially attributed to a faulty rudder on the amphibious assault ship, decisions made or not made quickly enough by Litchfield up on the bridge proved the four-striper's undoing.

Fortunately no sailors were killed in the incident, but enough damage was done to both ships for them to be sent to Diego for emergency repairs.

The collision occurred just one day before both ships were due to arrive in port. As the old saying goes: "Close, but no cigar."

Look for Litchfield to put in his retirement papers and be gone soon.


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