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Pro Publica Article on the USS Fitzgerald's Collision

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This is such an incredible article/website that gives a very detailed explanation of the lead-up to the accident and the events during the collision, and how the crew managed the emergency. What an incredible read:


edit: The second part:



"Fight the Ship

Death and valor on a warship doomed by its own Navy.

By T. Christian Miller, Megan Rose and Robert Faturechi

Design by Xaquín G.V.

February 6, 2019


A little after 1:30 a.m. on June 17, 2017, Alexander Vaughan tumbled from his bunk onto the floor of his sleeping quarters on board the Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald. The shock of cold, salty water snapped him awake. He struggled to his feet and felt a torrent rushing past his thighs.

Around him, sailors were screaming. “Water on deck. Water on deck!” Vaughan fumbled for his black plastic glasses and strained to see through the darkness of the windowless compartment.

Underneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean, 12 miles off the coast of Japan, the tidy world of Berthing 2 had come undone. Cramped bunk beds that sailors called coffin racks tilted at crazy angles. Beige metal footlockers bobbed through the water. Shoes, clothes, mattresses, even an exercise bicycle careered in the murk, blocking the narrow passageways of the sleeping compartment.

In the dim light of emergency lanterns, Vaughan glimpsed men leaping from their beds. Others fought through the flotsam to reach the exit ladder next to Vaughan’s bunk on the port side of the ship. Tens of thousands of gallons of seawater were flooding into the compartment from a gash that had ripped through the Fitzgerald’s steel hull like it was wrapping paper.

As a petty officer first class, these were his sailors, and in those first foggy seconds Vaughan realized they were in danger of drowning.

At 6 feet, 1 inch and 230 pounds, Vaughan grabbed a nearby sailor by the T-shirt and hurled him toward the ladder that led to the deck above. He yanked another, then another.

Vaughan’s leg had been fractured in three places. He did not even feel it.

“Get out, get out,” he shouted as men surged toward him through the rising water.

Berthing 2, just below the waterline and barely bigger than a 1,200-square-foot apartment, was home to 35 sailors. They were enlisted men, most in their 20s and 30s, many new to the Navy. They came from small towns like Palmyra, Virginia, and big cities like Houston. They were white, black, Latino, Asian. On the Fitzgerald, they worked as gunners’ mates, sonar experts, cafeteria workers and administrative assistants.

Seaman Dakota Rigsby, 19, was newly engaged. Sonar Technician Rod Felderman, 28, was expecting the birth of his first child. Gary Rehm Jr., 37, a petty officer first class, was the oldest sailor in the compartment, a mentor to younger crew members.

As the water rose past their ankles, their waists, their chests, the men fought their way to the port side ladder and waited, shivering in the swirling debris, for their chance to escape.

Shouting over a crescendo of seawater, Vaughan and his bunkmate, Joshua Tapia, a weapons specialist, worked side by side. They stationed themselves at the bottom of the ladder, grabbing the sailors and pushing them, one by one, up the steps. At the top, the men shot out the small opening, as the rising water forced the remaining air from the compartment.

Suddenly, the ship lurched to the right, knocking sailors from their feet. Some slipped beneath the surface. Others disappeared into the darkness of a common bathroom, carried by the force of water rushing to fill every available space.

Vaughan and Tapia waited until they were alone at the bottom of the ladder. When the water reached their necks, they, too, climbed out the 29-inch-wide escape hatch. Safe, they peered back down the hole. In the 90 seconds since the crash, the water had almost reached the top of Berthing 2.

Now they faced a choice. Naval training demanded that they seal the escape hatch to prevent water from flooding the rest of the ship. But they knew that bolting it down would consign any sailors still alive to death.

Vaughan and Tapia hesitated. They agreed to wait a few seconds more for survivors. Tapia leaned down into the vanishing inches of air left in Berthing 2.

“Come to the sound of my voice,” he shouted."

----------END SAMPLE-----

It is an incredible story, detailed and long. I haven't even finished myself but I highly recommend you go there to read the rest.


My reaction so far regarding the conditions that lead up to all the issues that caused the crashes. The USN is essentially falling apart at the seams from incompetence, political [edited] and mismanagement. What a disgrace.


It was a Woman driving.


Edited by NeoGabriel

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