JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On Tuesday the U.S. Navy Commander of the Pacific Fleet said some human remains were found in sealed compartments on the USS John S McCain.
Still, the search and rescue for sailors continues after the Navy destroyer collided with a tanker vessel early Monday morning. The collision led to multiple injuries and 10 missing sailors.
The collision is not isolated event for the Navy. This is the 4th Navy “accident” to happen in Asian Waters in just one year:
USS Antietam in January; the USS Lake Champlain in May; the USS Fitzgerald in June, where 7 sailors died; and most recently the USS John S McCain.
Greg Streeter is a retired Navy Captain spent his career on destroyers so he knows the ships well.
He says the Navy ships are bigger now, the technology is much more advanced, and suddenly the risk is heightened.
“My first reaction is it shouldn’t have happened, destroyers are basically the fastest and most maneuverable ships at sea,” said Streeter. “Because they have the ability to avoid collision better than any other ship at sea.”
Like the rest of the country, he’s left broken-hearted over the lives lost. He also knows all too well what happens when this kind of emergency arises.
“The most important thing to do in a collision is damage control,” said Streeter.
Often that damage control can result in life or death decision-making, like whether or not to close a compartment on the ship to prevent more flooding even if someone is still stuck inside. Streeter says “thank God” he didn’t have to make any of those decisions.
With investigations ongoing, he says it’s possible these collisions were not an accident.
“There are bad guys out there at sea too, just like guys driving vans intro crowds. If someone did that very unexpectedly you wouldn’t be ready for it.”
He’s worried less attention is being given to the military these days but says he hasn’t lost faith and he doesn’t want anyone else to lose it either.
“This is a great navy town,” he said. “We need to honor their service and it’s important to make sure they are properly trained so they know what they have to do when they have to do it.”
While the Navy continues the search for missing sailors Streeter says don’t lose hope and don’t forget what they’re fighting for.
“Your son or daughter did not die in vain. They were serving honorably for their country. And right now there is little much you can do for them but pray for them.”
Despite the tragedy, he says “we still have the best navy and we still have the best military in the world”.