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Navy Fires Captain Of San Diego-Based Ship In Wake of Collision

Capt. Chuck Litchfield
U.S. Navy
Capt. Chuck Litchfield

The Navy has fired the captain of the USS Essex, the San Diego-based ship involved in a collision at sea last month.

Navy spokeswoman Cmdr. Tamsen Reese told the Navy Times that Capt. Chuck Litchfield's firing Monday was prompted by the findings of a Navy investigation into the collision.

“There were a number of factors that contributed to the collision with Yukon. Part of it began with the loss of rudder control. There was a breakdown in command and control, in bridge resource management and in communication between the two ships. … All those factors contributed to the collision.”

Bottom line, according to Reese, was the Navy had a “loss of confidence in his ability to command."


As Home Post reported earlier, the USS Essex collided with the USNS Yukon the morning of May 16th. No one was injured in the collision, although both ships sustained damage. No fuel was spilled in the mishap.

The USS Essex was on its way home to San Diego after a dozen years in Sasebo, Japan when the collision happened. The Essex swapped crews with the USS Bonhomme Richard in April, so the Essex could undergo much-need maintenance in San Diego. Litchfield had been the commanding officer of the USS Bonhomme Richard before then.

Rear Adm. Gerard Hueber has temporarily assigned Capt. Jonathan Harnden to command the USS Essex.