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Offbeat USS Fitzgerald officer pleads guilty in collision that killed 7 sailors

16:26  09 may  2018
16:26  09 may  2018 Source:   foxnews.com

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A junior officer on the destroyer USS Fitzgerald has pleaded guilty to a dereliction of duty charge in connection with a collision that killed seven sailors last year, the Navy announced Tuesday. Lt. j.g. Sarah Coppock will forfeit a

An officer on the deck of the USS Fitzgerald when it collided with a commercial ship off Japan has pleaded guilty at her court-martial. Lt. j.g. Sarah Coppock pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty in the crash that killed seven sailors .

a large ship in the background: The damaged USS Fitzgerald is docked at the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, Japan this past June after colliding with a commercial ship. Seven sailors drowned when the ship took on water. © Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The damaged USS Fitzgerald is docked at the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, Japan this past June after colliding with a commercial ship. Seven sailors drowned when the ship took on water.

A junior officer on the destroyer USS Fitzgerald has pleaded guilty to a dereliction of duty charge in connection with a collision that killed seven sailors last year, the Navy announced Tuesday. 

Lt. j.g. Sarah Coppock will forfeit a half-month’s pay for three months and receive a punitive letter as punishment, according to a Navy statement.

“Our Sailors personify honor, courage, and commitment,” the statement read, in part. “The Navy will not accept complacency, negligence, or other behaviors contrary to its core values.”

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A junior Navy officer pleaded guilty on Tuesday to her role in last year's deadly collision involving the destroyer USS Fitzgerald off the coast of Japan that killed seven sailors .

The accident killed seven Fitzgerald sailors . " USS Fitzgerald officer pleads guilty to role in deadly collision ". " 7 Sailors Missing, CO Injured After Destroyer USS Fitzgerald Collided with Philippine Merchant Ship".

According to the Navy Times, Coppock was serving as officer at the deck at the time the Fitzgerald struck a commercial ship off the coast of Japan early on the morning of June 17. She was accused of failing to follow the commanding officer’s standing orders and international navigation rules. 

In August, the Navy announced that the Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, would be removed from duty, along with the ship’s second-in-command and the top senior enlisted sailor.

NAVY FAULTS US WARSHIPS IN SUMMER PACIFIC COLLISIONS THAT KILLED 17 SAILORS

A Navy report released in November found that the Fitzgerald was at fault for the collision. 

“In the 30 minutes leading up to the collision, neither Fitzgerald nor [the commercial ship] Crystal took such action to reduce the risk of collision until approximately one minute prior to the collision,” the report said.

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A U.S. Navy officer pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty Tuesday in the collision of a U.S. Navy destroyer that killed seven sailors last year. Coppock is the first of four officers charged in the USS Fitzgerald 's collision with a commercial ship off the coast of Japan in June.

A junior officer on the destroyer USS Fitzgerald has pleaded guilty to a dereliction of duty charge in connection with a collision that killed seven sailors last year, the Navy announced Tuesday.

The report added that Fitzgerald’s officer of the deck, now identified as Coppock, “intended to take no action” in the minutes leading up to the collision until realizing it was “too late.”

“The Officer of the Deck, the person responsible for safe navigation of the ship, exhibited poor seamanship by failing to maneuver as required, failing to sound the danger signal and failing to attempt to contact CRYSTAL on Bridge to Bridge radio. In addition, the Officer of the Deck did not call the Commanding Officer as appropriate and prescribed by Navy procedures to allow him to exercise more senior oversight and judgment of the situation,” the report said.

A Navy spokesman declined to tell the Navy Times whether Coppock would be discharged from service, telling the publication: “As of right now, she remains on active duty.”

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.

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