The man remains unidentified. The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days.
Last July, a 1,100 degree fire blazed aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard.
In a recent post about my concerns about American military readiness and priorities, I noted that the ship had been decommissioned in April and the investigation was winding down.
Now the Navy has charged a sailor in connection with the fire that seared the amphibious assault ship over the course of four days.
The unidentified sailor was a member of the ship’s crew and is accused of starting the July 12, 2020 blaze, the Navy said. The charges are based on evidence collected during an investigation, Navy spokesperson Cmdr. Sean Robertson, said in a statement.
“Evidence collected during the investigation is sufficient to direct a preliminary hearing in accordance with due process under the military justice system,” Robertson said.
A court martial is also being considered.
The charges against the seaman apprentice are aggravated arson under Article 126 of the Uniorom [sic] Code of Military Justice and hazarding a vessel under Article 110, USNI News has learned. The charges “were brought forth against a Navy sailor in response to evidence found during the criminal investigation into the fire started on USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) on July 12, 2020.”
…“Vice Adm. Steve Koehler, who commands 3rd Fleet, is considering court-martial charges and has directed a preliminary hearing at which an impartial hearing officer will make determinations and recommendations required by the UCMJ prior to any further trial proceedings – including whether or not there is probable cause to believe an offense has been committed and to offer a recommendation as to the disposition of the case,” [Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesperson in San Diego] said.
The Bonhomme Richard had been nearing the end of a two-year upgrade estimated to cost $250 million when the fire broke out.
About 160 sailors and officers were on board when the flames sent up a huge plume of dark smoke from the 840-foot vessel, which had been docked at Naval Base San Diego while undergoing the upgrade.
The fire started in the ship’s lower storage area, where cardboard boxes, rags and other maintenance supplies were stored. But winds coming off the San Diego Bay whipped up the flames and the flames spread up the elevator shafts and exhaust stacks.
Then two explosions — one heard as far as 13 miles away — caused it to grow even bigger.
I only hope that the trial is focused on evidence and real justice, rather than social justice and critical race theory.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.