Navy Milwaukee Tow: USS Milwaukee ‘Engineering Casualty’ Left Newest Combat Ship Stranded

The USS Milwaukee had to be towed back to port due to what the military has deemed an “engineering casualty.” The combat vessel is the newest ship in the Navy fleet. The ship broke down on Friday while attempting to travel from Halifax, Canada, to Mayport, Florida.

The Navy USS Milwaukee ship was towed about 40 nautical miles to the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Virginia, for repairs. According to a report in the Navy Times, the USS Milwaukee lube oil filter failed because “fine metal debris” was able to collect inside the system. It is not yet known where the debris emerged from or the full extent of the new combat ship’s failure. The vessel is a Freedom-Class Littoral Combat Ship — F-Class. It can travel at more than 45 knots-per-hour and boasts a crew of 98 sailors.

Navy’s newest combat ship, USS Milwaukee, at top speed video

The Navy ship was only commissioned a few weeks ago. A ceremony to commemorate the first voyage of the “nonstoppable” vessel was held in Milwaukee on November 21. The need to tow the new ship so quickly after the highly-touted new combat vessel was placed into the water has raised concerns about the building and contract process in Washington, D.C. Former Republican presidential candidate and current Senate Armed Services Committee member, John McCain, deemed the USS Milwaukee tow a “troubling” incident and called for increased accountability for Navy contractors. The contract to build the ship was awarded during the final days of 2010, the USS Milwaukee LCS 5 website notes.

A look inside the USS Milwaukee — video

John McCain had this to say about the Navy ship, USS Milwaukee breaking down and needing towed.

“Reporting of a complete loss of propulsion on USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) is deeply alarming, particularly given this ship was commissioned just 20 days ago. U.S. Navy ships are built with redundant systems to enable continued operation in the event of an engineering casualty, which makes this incident very concerning. I expect the Navy to conduct a thorough investigation into the root causes of this failure, hold individuals accountable as appropriate, and keep the Senate Armed Services Committee informed.”


Michael D. Brasseur is the USS Milwaukee commander. When serving as an anti-submarine warfare officer on the USS Deyo, Commander Brasseur was deployed to the Standing Naval Forces Mediterranean base. The USS Milwaukee commanding officer also served as an operations officer on the USS Samuel B. Roberts and was deployed to both South and Central America during the sea tour of duty. While a lieutenant, Brasseur commanded the USS Whirlwind and was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom to the Arabian Gulf before taking the helm of the Navy’s newest combat ship. Commander Brasseur was serving at the executive officer on board the USS Underwood, and was once again sent to Central and South America, this time to take part in Operation Southern Seas.

During his career in the Navy, Michael Brasseur earned the Navy Achievement Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, and multiple service and unit awards.

The USS Milwaukee was towed to Virginia courtesy of the Grapple, a salvage ship. Navy engineers attempted to remove the metal debris for the ship’s lube oil filter, but their efforts proved unsuccessful, CNN reports. Once the necessary repairs are made and its planned trip completed, the combat ship will ultimately make San Diego its home port.

[Image via AP/PRNewsfoto]