The United States Navy has officially released the names of the seven sailors that were killed during the collision of the U.S.S. Fitzgerald with the container ship ACX Crystal. The seven sailors range in age from 19 to 37, and include men from across the United States. One of the names was inadvertently released earlier today before the Navy had the chance to notify all of the deceased’s next of kin. That name was 19-year-old Gunners Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby. GMSN Rigsby hailed from Palmyra, Virginia, and was exceptionally proud to have joined.
The other six sailors killed in the collision are the following.
- Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25
- Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26
- Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25
- Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24
- Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37
- Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlosvictor Ganzon Sibayan, 23
There were also three others injured in the collision including the destroyer’s captain, Commander Bryce Benson. Benson was medevacked with the two other sailors to the Navy base at Yokosuka, Japan where they were treated and listed in stable condition. The 10,000-ton Fitzgerald is a guided-missile destroyer that is dwarfed by the 29,000-ton ACX Crystal, a Phillippine based container ship.
The two collided on Saturday, June 17, 2017, just after 2:20 a.m. local time. The Crystal tore into the destroyer’s starboard (right) side, ripping open a berthing compartment where over half of the ship’s enlisted personnel were sleeping. The bulbous bow of the container ship crushed a significant portion of the destroyer’s hull underneath the waterline, causing severe flooding into the crew’s compartment. It was only thanks to superlative training and damage control efforts from the crew that the destroyer managed to stay afloat. Multiple photos of the ship arriving at Yokosuka show the ship’s bilge pumps and auxiliary pumps working overtime to control the flooding.
There will definitely be multiple investigations into the cause of the collision. No matter what the outcome of the investigation, the captain of the Fitzgerald will likely be relieved of command and never hold a seaborne command again in the Navy. As well, he will never make captain, let alone reach the flag ranks of the admiralty. Because Benson was not on the bridge at the time of the collision, he will likely be subject to an admiral’s mast, which is a form of non-judicial punishment in the Navy.
The reason for the admiral’s mast instead of a court martial will be because there was no malice or willfull decision involved in the collision. However, the captain of any Navy ship is the ultimate authority on board his or her vessel. Even if the collision is at night, the captain of a Navy vessel is expected to leave standing orders to be woken up whenever another ship comes within a certain distance.
The admiral’s mast will likely make it clear to Benson that his resignation is expected, much like occurred in previous collisions involving Navy ships.
[Featured Image by Eugene Hoshiko/AP Images]