Navy Captain Censured Over Lethal Car Sinking Authorized for One other Command

The Navy is giving a captain beforehand censured over the deadly sinking of an amphibious assault car, or AAV, one other probability at command.

Capt. John Kurtz, beforehand the commanding officer of the USS Somerset — the ship that launched the doomed craft — has been really useful to take command of an plane provider someday between October 2023 and September 2024, in response to a just lately launched Navy memo.

The sinking, which occurred on July 30, 2020, claimed the lives of eight Marines and a Navy corpsman when their poorly maintained AAV started taking up water because it was making its means from shore again to the Somerset. 

Learn Subsequent: Solely One Health Check for Sailors Subsequent Yr reached out to the Navy, which confirmed that Kurtz was chosen for command regardless of having acquired the censure letter. The Navy’s assertion famous that the letter was in Kurtz’s document and “choice boards overview the official information of screened members.”

On the day of the incident in 2020, the Marines of the fifteenth Marine Expeditionary Unit within the doomed AAV may inform one thing was unsuitable. After signaling their misery and calling for assist, they started on the point of get out of their struggling craft. One other AAV that got here up intending to help them unintentionally ran into the sinking car within the uneven seas, pushing it sideways into the waves. With a hatch open, a wave shortly stuffed the troop compartment, and the AAV sank with most of its crew nonetheless on board.

A number of Marine Corps and Navy investigations adopted, and firings ensued. The Marine Corps fired a colonel, a lieutenant colonel and then a two-star common for his or her roles within the incident that one Marine report referred to as “tragic” and “preventable.”

The Navy launched its personal report, the final of 4 the service produced on the incident, in October 2021. Within the report, the service discovered management confusion, poor communications and gaps in coaching amongst its sailors, however finally concluded that none of these shortfalls was on to blame for the incident.

This June, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro publicly launched letters of censure he issued to 5 officers who had been in positions of management through the incident, together with Kurtz.

In his letter to Kurtz, Del Toro famous that the investigation “discovered that you simply failed in your duties to supervise AAV operations as the first management officer.” Del Toro went on to say that Kurtz’s crew “was poorly knowledgeable of the dangers and measures required for secure AAV operations” as a result of the “related briefings didn’t embody a strong dialogue of the particular risks concerned.”

The Navy famous that choice “board deliberations usually are not a matter of public document.”

— Konstantin Toropin may be reached at Comply with him on Twitter @ktoropin.  

Associated: Navy Secretary Censures 5 Officers over Deadly AAV Sinking

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