Babbitt was relieved of duty and given a formal letter of reprimand, effectively ending his chances for promotion. Benson, and only Benson, could occupy the seat. Finally, Smith claimed that Hartwig had made romantic advances towards him, had shown him an explosive timer, and had threatened to blow up Turret Two. Now they faced a choice. A third asked to go home to visit his mother, who was dying. As one of two director-level leaders of the Department of Defense Whistleblower Program, he conducted and oversaw allegations of whistleblower reprisal made by DoD civilian employees and submitted to the Inspector General. It looked to Dora like her husband was sleeping. 284â85, 288; Vistica, p. 291. It was very surreal,” she said. Much of the powder in use on Iowa was bagged under Miceli's direction at Crane. Three days later, however, Smith recanted his statement to the NIS in its entirety when he was asked to reread and reaffirm a transcript of the interrogation, and signed a statement to that effect. At first, the members of the rescue party thought they were looking at the back wall of Benson’s cabin, at what appeared to be a light bulb hanging down and swinging wildly. She considered herself one of the better officers on the ship. He had a laceration on his head, its cause unknown. He learned to get material any way he could: scavenging equipment, pestering supply clerks and getting his machinists to make custom fittings. The Navy can be a tough place for women: Only about a fifth of Navy sailors are female, and misogyny remains an occupational hazard. At 1:30:34 a.m. on June 17, 2017, at 34.52 degrees north latitude and 139.07 degrees east longitude, the ACX Crystal slammed into the USS Fitzgerald. One of the tests at 14 feet per second (4.3 m/s) caused an explosion in the breech. Many sources were interviewed multiple times. Schwoebel states that the ship was 330 nautical miles (610 km) from Puerto Rico. Dewey sailors poured on board the Fitzgerald, bringing food, water and fresh muscle. The divers placed Rigsby’s body into a bag and swam toward the dive boat, stationed next to the Fitzgerald. Alan E. Diehl, a former safety manager for the U.S. Navy, described the USS Iowa incident in his 2003 book Silent Knights: Blowing the Whistle on Military Accidents and Their Cover-Ups. Beige metal footlockers bobbed through the water. If that didn’t work, they would provide mouth-to-mouth. NBC responded by claiming that it could not be held liable, because its information had come directly, via leaks, from the NIS. Bonner, p. 59; Thompson, p. 101. He liked spicy foods, scary movies and TV comedies. Perez did not give up. They gave firsthand accounts for formal inquiries. In addition, Truitt plus two other Iowa sailors and acquaintances of Hartwig testified that Hartwig was not suicidal and that the Navy was trying to "cover up" that the explosion was likely an accident. It was a different story on the Fitzgerald. For the next 15 hours, Schrimsher guided the ship from a small, windowless room. His body was also found in the lounge area. As the Fitzgerald struggled to return to port, its navigational displays failed and backup batteries ran out. The blow tilted the deck 14 degrees off level, hurling men from their beds and uprooting lockers and furniture. The committee, including Mavroules, Les Aspin, Larry Hopkins, Norman Sisisky, and Joseph Brennan, interviewed Donnell, Ault, Hazelwood, Milligan, Miceli, Truitt, Nimmich, and Richard Froede, the Armed Services Medical Examiner. It also boosted her self-assurance. Garzke, Bonner, p. 58; Schwoebel, pp. 10â11; Thompson, pp. One of the men was Christopher Perez, the Fitzgerald’s senior chief petty officer for the ship’s missile and gun systems. During the briefing, Skelley announced that Turret Two would participate in an experiment of his design in which D-846 powder would be used to fire 2700 lb (1224.7 kg) shells. Sonar Technician Kamari Eason had first watch, too, but didn’t get to bed until midnight. 70â81. A Navy doctor agreed on one condition. Twenty-seven men escaped up the port ladder in about 90 seconds. He demanded vigilance from his sailors. Benson made clear in his orders what to do if the slightest thing went wrong: “CALL ME.”. The successive incidents raised an unavoidable question: How could two $1.8 billion Navy destroyers, protected by one of the most advanced defense systems on the planet, fail to detect oncoming cargo ships broadcasting their locations to a worldwide navigational network? The water was closing around him. 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