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Commanding Officers of USS McCain Relieved of Duty Following Deadly Collision

by Erin Calabrese /
The damaged port aft hull of USS John S. McCain, left, is seen while docked next to USS America at Singapore's Changi naval base on August 22, 2017 in Singapore. The focus of the search for 10 U.S. sailors missing after a collision between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker in Southeast Asian waters shifted Tuesday to the damaged destroyer's flooded compartments.Wong Maye-E / AP

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The command officers of the USS John S. McCain were relieved of duty by Navy brass on Tuesday, following the ship's August collision near Singapore with a merchant vessel that resulted in the deaths of 10 sailors.

The ship's commanding officer, Cmdr. Alfredo J. Sanchez, and the executive officer, Cmdr. Jessie L. Sanchez, were said to have exercised poor "judgement" and "leadership," respectively, according to a statement from the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

"Both were relieved due to a loss of confidence," it said.

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"While the investigation is ongoing, it is evident the collision was preventable, the commanding officer exercised poor judgement, and the executive officer exercised poor leadership of the ships training program," the statement read.

"Cmdr. A. Sanchez was reassigned to Commander, Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ) and Cmdr. J. Sanchez was reassigned to Ship Repair Facility (SRF) Yokosuka," the Navy said.

Last month, Admiral Scott Smith announced his retirement from Command of the Pacific Fleet after two separate collisions caused the deaths of 17 sailors, in total. The USS Fitzgerald slammed into a Japanese merchant ship in June resulting in seven sailors deaths, and the McCain struck a 30,000-ton tanker in August, killing 10 and injuring five.

Related: Pacific Fleet Commander to Retire in Wake of Deadly Crashes

The senior command of the Fitzgerald saw a similar shake up following the its June incident, when three officers were relieved of duties when a Navy investigation revealed sailors on the bridge had "lost situational awareness" and "serious mistakes were made by the crew."

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