Charges Filed Against Sailor Who Destroyed Billion Dollar Warship


( – Naval officials decommissioned the USS Bon Homme Richard (USS Bon Homme) on April 14, 2021. In July of last year, flames engulfed the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship for four days in what the Navy Times described as “one of the worst… blazes outside of combat in recent memory.”

On July 29, 2021, US Third Fleet spokesperson Cmdr. Sean Robertson released a statement detailing the results of the Navy’s investigation into the USS Bonhomme blaze.

Cmdr. Robertson advised that investigators file charges against an unnamed sailor who served aboard the USS Bon Homme at the time of the blaze. Robertson also explained that Naval officials should gather sufficient evidence to “direct a preliminary hearing” under the UCMJ, the federal law that applies to active duty military personnel.

Depending on the outcome of the Article 32 preliminary hearing, US Third Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Steve Koehler will consider court-martial charges against the suspect.

Retired Marine Lt. Col. Gary Barthel is currently representing the accused sailor. He told a San Diego NBC News affiliate his client denies the allegations. Naval officials haven’t announced a date for the preliminary hearing yet.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this case is the fact one sailor could start a fire capable of destroying a massive assault ship like the USS Bonhomme Richard. Exactly how vulnerable are other naval vessels to sabotage from within?

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