NAVY LTJG PLEADS GUILTY TO CHARGE OF
DERELICTION OF DUTY IN COLLISION TRAGEDY
WHEN USS FITZGERALD BADLY DAMAGED AT SEA
(OFFICER OF THE DECK) SAYS
"I TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY" FOR LOSS OF
SEVEN SAILORS WHO WERE KILLED IN THE
COPPOCK LOSES 1/2 PAY PER MONTH
FOR THREE MONTHS AND RECEIVES LETTER OF
- NO WORD ON IF SHE WILL REMAIN IN NAVY
© 2018 MilitaryCorruption.com
NAVY YARD -- "Not a day goes by when I haven't thought what I could
have done differently," said Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) Sarah Coppock.
LTJG Coppock was the Officer
of the Deck at 01.30 local time on 17 June 2017, when the cargo ship ACX
Crystal, carrying 1,080 containers from Nagoya to Tokyo, reported that it had
collided with USS Fitzgerald near Shizuoka, Japan, about 64 miles southwest of
the Yokosuka naval base at the entrance of Tokyo Bay.
The 29,000 ton merchant ship's bulbous bow
suffered minor damage. The Fitzgerald suffered severe damage to both her
starboard side superstructure and her starboard side below the waterline.
The Fitzgerald's commanding officer and two
sailors were injured and evacuated by helicopter. Seven U.S. Navy sailors
were found dead in the damaged, flooded starboard compartments. They were
killed while they slept.
None of the 20 crew
members aboard the container ship, all Filipino, were injured. The Japan
Coast Guard's investigation of the incident began the same day. Vice Chief
of Naval Operations, Admiral William Moran stated that "serious mistakes"
were made by the Fitzgerald's "bridge team," which caused them to lose
"situational awareness," thus rendering it impossible to avoid the
collision even after the ACX Crystal had already been sighted.
Six senior officials in the US Navy have been
removed from duty in connection with the Fitzgerald collision as well as
the 23 August 2017 collision of its sister ship, the USS John S. McCain
with the oil tanker MV Alnic MC. Ten sailors lost their lives aboad the
LTJG Coppock pleaded guilty to
charges of "dereliction of duty" and will be fined 1/2 month's pay for
three months, as well as receive a letter of admonishment for her failure to
perform her duties properly while on the bridge of an American man-of-war.
"I take full responsibility," the choked up
junior officer said at her sentencing here in the nation's capital. We are told
that she froze and didn't contact the destroyer's
skipper or the tin can's communication center in the crutial minutes before the
USS Fitzgerald was "t-boned" by the larger vessel.
WILL COPPOCK REMAIN IN THE NAVY?
Scapegoat, or deserving of punishment, Coppock may get to stay in the
Navy. There has been no comment from the usual sources when a ship's
officer is on their way to be tossed overboard.
The brass wants to
make sure no one thinks this case is just a mild slap-on-the-wrist.
Navy will not accept complacency, negligence, or other behaviors," read a
news release handout to reporters here at the Navy Yard.