Bryce Benson: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
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Bryce Benson: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

bryce benson

Bryce Benson. (US Navy)

Bryce Benson, the commander of the USS Fitzgerald, is a Wisconsin native who was injured in the collision between the Navy destroyer and a Philippine merchant vessel.

On July 11, the U.S. Navy announced that Benson was being temporarily relieved of his duties for medical reasons.

Seven U.S. sailors were found deceased in a berthing compartment in the ship after the June 16 incident between the 505-foot Navy destroyer and a larger container ship called the ACX Crystal.

“A number of Sailors’ bodies that were missing from the collision between USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and a merchant ship have been found,” the US 7th Fleet said in a news release on June 17, without specifying the number. However, CNN reported that all seven missing sailors’ bodies were found.

The Navy identified the soldiers who died on June 18. They are: Dakota Kyle Rigsby. Shingo Alexander Douglass. Ngoc T Truong Huynh. Noe Hernandez. Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan. Xavier Alec Martin. Gary Leo Rehm Jr. You can read more about each of them here.

uss fitzgerald victims, uss fitzgerald sailors killed

Six of the 7 sailors who died in USS Fitzgerald. Photos of the remaining sailor will be added when it is obtained.

The cause of the collision has not yet been released. However, investigators are interviewing the crew of the ACX Crystal, and “Japan’s public broadcaster NHK said the ACX Crystal had made a sharp turn shortly before the collision,” reported The Guardian. However, the company says the collision occurred early than the Navy claims, which would mean the ship turned after the collision, not before it, and may have been operating on autopilot.

bryce benson

Cmdr. Bryce Benson, executive officer, assists in bringing down the battle ensign on board Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62). (US Navy photo)

As the commander of the ship, and a relatively new one at that, Benson has found himself suddenly thrust into the public eye.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. The Commander Was Injured on the Ship & Was Described as ‘Lucky to Be Alive’

bryce benson

Bryce Benson. (LinkedIn)

Benson was among those injured in the collision with the ACX Crystal container ship, which occurred about 56 nautical miles of Yokosuka, Japan. However, it appears he will be OK. Still, it was a close call.

Benson “was asleep when the accident happened and his cabin was destroyed by the impact at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday,” reported UK Daily Mail, quoting Vice Adm Joseph Aucoin as saying Benson is “lucky to be alive.”

Cmdr. Bryce Benson, Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, “was injured in the collision and “transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka and is reportedly in stable condition,” according to a press statement by the U.S. 7th Fleet.

Benson’s living quarters were destroyed, reported Stars and Stripes, which added that the Navy has declined to reveal details about his current medical condition, due to privacy laws.

bryce benson

Then Lt. j.g. Bryce Benson, a boarding team member from USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), climbs a pilot’s ladder during a boarding exercise on HMA Brambleleaf (A81) as part of Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) in the Englis Channel, Sept. 11, 2001.

In addition to the captain and those missing, two sailors suffered injuries. “2 Sailors in addition to Cmdr. Benson have been medevac’d from FITZ to USNH-Yokosuka for lacerations & bruises,” reported the U.S. 7th Fleet.

Most concerning, of course: Those who are missing. However, tragically, their bodies were found in a damaged area of the ship on June 17.


2. Benson Was Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin & Received a Bachelor’s Degree in History From Marquette University

bryce benson

Bryce Benson taking over command of the USS Fitzgerald. (US Navy)

Benson’s Naval career began in Wisconsin through the Navy’s ROTC program.

“A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, CDR Bryce Benson graduated from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1999 and earned his commission through the Naval ROTC program,” the US 7th Fleet wrote in a biography of Benson.

On LinkedIn, Benson wrote that he graduated from Marquette, a Jesuit university in Milwaukee, in 1999 with a degree in history. Under activities while in college, he wrote that he participated in Naval ROTC and Les Aspin School for Student Government.

bryce benson

The caption under this Marquette ROTC photo reads, “Cmdr. Bryce Benson (Class of ‘99) greets Midn 1/c Daniel Peters a future MU alumnus. Bryce is XO of the USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) visiting Yokosuka, Japan.”

He’s listed under the Marquette University Navy duty station from 1999 through 2007.


3. Seven Sailors Were Killed in the Collision, Which Damaged the Ship

The Navy has confirmed that seven sailors were reported missing after the collision. The missing sailors’ identities had not yet been released. Dive teams helped recover some of the bodies, according to the Navy. They were inside a damaged area of the ship.

“Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the Sailors,” said Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, before the bodies were found. “We thank our Japanese partners for their assistance.”

Sadly, the sailors were then discovered deceased by dive teams.

“As search and rescue crews gained access to the spaces that were damaged during the collision this morning, the missing Sailors were located in the flooded berthing compartments. They are currently being transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka where they will be identified,” the US 7th Fleet reported on June 17.

“The families are being notified and being provided the support they need during this difficult time. The names of the Sailors will be released after all notifications are made.”

The United States was working with the Japanese forces to stabilize the ship and find the missing seamen.

“U.S. and Japanese support from the Navy, Maritime Self Defense Force and Coast Guard are in the area to ensure that the Sailors on USS Fitzgerald have the resources they need to stabilize their ship. As more information is learned, we will be sure to share to it with the Fitzgerald families and when appropriate the public. Thank you for your well wishes and messages of concern. All of our thoughts and prayers are with the Fitzgerald crew and their families,” said Adm. John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations.

The ship suffered “damage on starboard side above & below waterline. Some flooding,” reported the Navy, but it was later running on its own power.


4. Benson Took Charge of the USS Fitzgerald Recently & Called His Sailors the ‘Best Crew on the Waterfront’

uss fitzgerald

The U.S.S. Fitzgerald. (US 7th Fleet/Twitter)

A US Navy press release says that “Cmdr. Bryce Benson relieved Cmdr. Robert Shu as the commanding officer of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) during a change of command ceremony onboard U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo, May 13.” The photo with the release is dated May 2017, although the press release itself is dated 2016. However, another release by the Navy says that Shu commanded USS Fitzgerald through May 2017.

“It is coincidental that change of command will not be in our homeport of Yokosuka and instead in Sasebo. Both myself and Cmdr. Benson formally had commands in Sasebo on mine sweepers,” said Shu.

“I look forward to being with my Fitzgerald family in support of future missions and exercises. This is the best ship and the best crew on the waterfront, hands down!” said Benson, according to the release. “I am proud to work alongside the Navy’s best and brightest men and women who protect and support the Pacific region and our allies.”

According to his LinkedIn page, Benson’s education didn’t stop with Marquette. He received a master’s degree from George Washington University in organizational management in 2005 and participated in the Navy’s Washington DC internship program.

Benson also attended National Defense University Joint Forces College where he studied warfighting and received a professional military education.

CDR Benson’s initial sea tours were on the pre-commissioned ship USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) and USS Kauffman (FFG 59) “where he deployed to the 5th Fleet in support of Operation Enduring Freedom,” the Navy says.

“In 2006, he was assigned as the Weapons Officer on USS FORREST SHERMAN (DDG 98) and participated in the maiden deployment to the 6th Fleet Area of Operations. In 2007, CDR Benson screened for the early command program and subsequently served as the Executive Officer then as Commanding Officer of USS GUARDIAN (MCM 5), forward deployed from Sasebo Japan, 2008-2010,” according to the Navy.

Ashore, reported the Navy, Benson was selected for the Navy’s Washington D.C. Internship Program “where he earned a Master’s degree in Organizational Management from The George Washington University and served internships on the Navy Staff, Joint Staff, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In 2010, CDR Benson was assigned to the Navy Personnel Command, Surface Warfare Distribution (PERS 41) as the Placement Coordinator for Amphibious and Mine Warfare Forces. In 2013, he reported to the U.S. Pacific Command where he served as the Executive Assistant to the Director for Operations (J3) and as an Integrated Air and Missile Defense Staff Officer (J36).”

In November 2015, Benson “reported as the Executive Officer of USS FITZGERALD (DDG 62) forward deployed from Yokosuka, Japan as part of the Surface Navy’s Command Fleet Up program,” the Navy said.


5. The Cause Is Not Clear but the ACX Crystal’s Crew Is Being Questioned by Investigators

The Japanese Coast Guard was searching for the sailors as is the damaged ship, according to the US 7th Fleet. The ACX container ship is a larger vessel than the USS Fitzgerald. The Navy wrote that it would “join Japanese helicopters, ships and aircraft to render assistance.”

No officials have given any indication that the collision could be terrorism related or intentional. However, the reason the collision occurred has not yet been released. However, UK Daily Mail reported that one expert says the ACX Crystal might have been operating on autopilot, and the company says the collision happened earlier than the Navy does, which means a turn seen on marine tracking sites may mean the ship turned around after the collision to see what happened.

“Although Fitzgerald is under her own power, USS Dewey (DDG 105) got underway this morning as well as several U.S. Navy aircraft, and will join Japanese Coast Guard and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopters, ships and aircraft to render whatever assistance may be required,” the US 7th Fleet said in a statement.

However, the Guardian reported that “Japan’s coastguard and the US navy plan to question crew members from the ACX Crystal, and could treat the collision as a possible case of endangerment of traffic caused by professional negligence, Kyodo news said.”

The ACX Crystal was berthed “at Tokyo’s Oi wharf, where its crew was questioned by investigators,” reported The Guardian.

56 Comments

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56 Comments

Thomas Sullivan

The USS Fitzgerald failed to yield to a ship on their starboard side. Fail. Their two watch crews both were distracted (official finding) and failed to act early enough to avoid a crash. Lots of lives and careers ended because a dozen sailors were not disciplined enough to pay attention to their jobs.

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Eugene Pantano

After 16 Navy and 8 Army…to me … it seems obvious….it was not the fault of Ships Captain..or her Exec..
Auto pilot..??????? on a cargo ship….??? As far as I’m concerned…. we know the cause of this tragedy.. NO Ship should be on auto pilot in waters where other ships are present.. That best be looked into..and dealt with severely..
God…and the owners of that cargo ship .. owe the families of the lost Sailors… big time…and .. the Navy owes them all a Meritorious Advancement along with all the other benefits..
My heart goes out to all the families..and the CO and XO…

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Alan Newman

Before you make assumptions on scanty information – wait till all 6 investigations are complete. Both vessels are liable, end of story. There will be learning from this and it won’t be one sided I can assure you.
My heart goes out to the families and friends of those lost.

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Anonymous

I’d not be surprised it the accident involved two Phillipino freighters, but a U.S. Navy vessel? WTH?

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Reddog

I suggest everyone quit guessing and assuming what the facts may be or may not be and wait for the inquiry to be finished. I’d just say the Navy is lucky they didn’t lose more sailors than they did. A few degrees difference in collision angle and it might have been a whole different outcome.

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Anonymous

I don’t know how this is possible, everyone asleep on both boats? I’d assume radar had to be down and they could only see visually. Our Navy has looked pretty stupid lately with dumb problems. Too many liberals trying to get free shit and not wanting to serve the country are joining the Navy. My friends on subs say they weed out those people real fast because it’s like a different branch of military on a sub. They need to do that across all the armed forces. Let’s be the strongest military again! Stop the PC bullshit and worrying about how someone identifies themselves.

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CLuther

Sorry, Videeo. That was meant as a response to the article, not a reply to you.

Though in reply to your comment, CDR Benson is not dead. Sadly, seven sailors on the Fitzgerald *were* killed.

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Chris G Navigator

Both ships were in restricted waters heading northeast in a busy shipping lane at night- so not lots of room for error. Looks like the inbound large container ship was off course heading for the northern shoals of Toshima Island. I’m estimating the Navy ship was about 2 miles behind. I’m assuming the speed of both ships was about 15 knots. The ACX Crystal decided to come about to the left on a reciprocal southwest course, setting up a head-on “meeting situation” with the USS Fitzgerald, as defined in 1972 Collision Regulations (COLREGS, aka The Rules of the Road). This maneuver surely surprised the Navy ship. Traveling two miles at a combined relative speed of 30 knots would take 3 minutes and 29 seconds, so everyone asking HOW could this happen, I hope those numbers puts the scenario in perspective.
In a meeting situation, COLREGS dictates both ships turns to the right- there’s a saying we mariners use: “go right and you never go wrong”.
REMEMBER, only 3 minutes to react, and get out of this mess. Stopping is not an option because it takes a long time to slow down the merchant ships 30000 tons At this point (in my estimation, with very little data known to me), I’m not sure what happened, but it looks like the merchant turns LEFT.
Why would the merchant ship turn left? I don’t know.
A few possibilities include:
1. Navy ship turned right, then merchant turned left, then navy ship turns left to clear bow but collide at a perpendicular angle.
2. Merchant ship turned left, then Navy ship turned right , then Navy ship alters course to left to clear bow, but collide at a perpendicular angle.
I believe scenario number 1 is the most probable.
My thoughts and prayers are with the seven sailors and their families. God bless all of you.

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Challenge Sailing

Chris G Navigator has the clearest opinion of this entire thread.. All of you should read it. The USS Fitzgerald was required to give way to the ACX Crystal because she was to starboard. The ACX Crystal was the “stand on” vessel. The term ” stand on” replaced the older term “right of way” – it means exactly that…. the ACX Crystal was required to “stand on”….that is to say, maintain her course and speed so that the give way vessel may then take appropriate action calculated based on the trajectory of the stand on vessel. The International Collision Regulations – require that the Stand On Vessel, ” shall …. not alter course to port for a vessel on her own port side”. For reasons yet to be explained to the public, the ACX Crystal made a very sharp turn to port and collided with the USS Fitzgerald. My heart goes out to the families of the 7 sailors who lost their lives in this tragedy and also to Cmdr Benson who only took command of the vessel a few weeks ago. His career will be impacted forever regardless of findings.

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Jim Reece

You’re full of COLREGS, and short on tactics. Under conditions which you describe, the question is NOT what action should be taken by the vessel in the “wrong”,
but rather, what would the proper ‘knowing’ action be, on the part of the another vessel. That answer is governed by facts showing that other vessel is not under rational command,thus COLREGS have now departed and you’ve a duty to mitigate collision speed, by turning turning with the same direction of the relative motion at hand. In other words, go with the flow, not into it. That would mean going LEFT, not right. The rudder speed and maneuverability of this USN vessel without question is very capable of exercising this form of damage control. And please, don’t try to tell me how the USN bridge had only “three minutes”, to act, when there can be no question that under the theory of facts you allege, the USN bridge prior to this, on a minimum of two radar screens, had observed the MV begin and undertake a very clear and overt turn to the southwest. Gee whiz, Wally, what we do now?

I’ve repeatedly sailed unlimited tonnage vessel in this very same environment where one had better trust his own senses, rather than waiting for confirmation upon a question of another vessel’s sanity. I smell “Obama Care”, namely let’s commission and employ some intellectually marginalized citizens, and put them on watch.

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Chris G Navigator

Jim, when vessels are in an “Extremis Situation” which is a defined whereas two vessels have approached so closely that collision can no longer be avoided by one ship acting alone, a departure from strict compliance with the Collision Regulations can be applied when necessary to avoid immediate danger. However, if the rules ARE ABLE to be applied, then they must be applied. Jim Reece, I already told you the instinctive action by both masters and according to the law… in a head-on situation we go right! assuming we have good water to go to the right.
COLREGS rules number 2 is often called the “rule of good seamanship” and every professional mariner knows that is basically states: it is international law and your responsibility to follow these rules all the time, but if things get really bad, and you find yourself in an extreme situation (extremis)- THEN you can do whatever you need to do to ensure you don’t collide with another vessel.
And yes, Jim, as unbelievable as it sounds 3 minutes is correct. It’s based on a simple formula of time, speed and distance- the numbers don’t lie (it may be less than 3 minutes if the ships were less than 2 miles apart). They were both steaming inbound, and all of a sudden the merchant bangs a U turn- so the new situation you are faced with is known as one of the worst nightmares you ever want to hear on the bridge of a ship, those four letters that make the hair on the back of your neck stand-up: CBDR.
CBDR is an acronym which stands for Constant Bearing, Decreasing Range. It means another ship is headed straight for you! Now your relative speed is your own ships speed, plus the speed of the CBDR ship: 15+15 is 30 knots. 2 miles at 30 knots is a little over 3 minutes.
And everyone is screaming- you have radar! what about the radar! … when vessels are in sight of one another, and of course in restricted waters we use our eyes primarily- and of course we utilize all the tools we can to aid in our decision making (radar, radio communications, navigation lights, ships whistle etc), it’s called “bridge resource management”, and you will read all about in the final report of this accident.

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Inig Madik

” I smell “Obama Care”, namely let’s commission and employ some intellectually marginalized citizens, and put them on watch.”

Obama-Care!!!….. Affirmative Action!!!!….. Gay Rights!!!…. “Ho’s Rights”….. et al…..

Yes sir….. I.D.I.O.T.S are running the USS Conflagration into the GROUND in the NAME OF “EQUALITY” and “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS”…..

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Carlos

Holy Moley, you think the container ship basically made a left U-turn to put it on a reciprocal course heading straight towards the Fitzgerald? WOW that is almost unbelievable, but your interpretation certainly does alot to explain why this ever did happen. Thanks, CV.

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Anonymous

Appreciate the great comments here from people with knowledge. Was there never a thought to launching a missile into the other ship as it became evident a collision was going to occur? Is that an unacceptable response to “in extremis”?

Praying for our boys–thanks to all for your service!!

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Anonymous

Minesweeper captain? Captain should not trust his crew till he knows them for 6 months. This is the biggest cluster circle-jerk FUBAR ship that I have ever heard of!

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Anonymous

Judging from the fact that the port bow of the merchant vessel hit the Starboard bridge wing of the Navy vessel, it appears that the U.S. Navy vessel was on the merchant vessels left or Port side as the two vessels met. This would mean that the U.S. Navy vessel should come right and passed astern of the merchant vessel when they met. The U.S. Navy vessel had to give way to the merchant vessel. In these situations, the U.S. Navy vessel should make a bold course change so that the merchant vessel now sees the Navy ships port running light as the navy vessel changes course. It appears that one of two things could’ve happened, either the U.S. Navy vessel did not change course fast enough and ran into the merchant vessel . Or, as the U.S. Navy vessel came right to pass the stern of the merchant vessel, the merchant vessel may have change course to the left if the merchant vessel did not believe that the Navy vessel was changing course. In this situation , the office of the deck should call the captain to the bridge as this was the middle of the night as soon as the situation became confusing. Probably the officer of the deck waited until it was too late to call the captain to the bridge to assess the situation. This is why captains have to always have complete trust in the judgment and integrity of their officers of the deck. Most likely, the captain, the office of the deck, the junior officer the deck, and the CIC watch officer were probably all on the bridge at the time of the collision. Unfortunately, the two vessels were most likely in extremis which which means that the vessels were going to collide and that no action pass a certain point could’ve stopped that. In summary, from the way the ships hit, it appears that the U.S. Navy ship was most likely responsible for giving way to the merchant vessel, and may have done so but not in a Bold fashion enough to appease the merchant vessel. Therefore, the merchant vessel probably changed course also and put the two vessels in extremis. It would be interesting to find out if the merchant vessel change course, because as the vessel with the right away, its duty was to maintain course and speed unless it believed that the U.S. Navy vessel had not taken proper action to avoid it. Just my thoughts after having met hundreds of ships at night during my tour of duty in the Navy.

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Anonymous

Very nice assessment, this is the end of the captain’s career because he decided to put his trust in a weak officer of the deck. It makes you wonder if it was a politically correct promotion of the weak junior officer, probably a woman or a black, under the Obama administration. So now we have a billion-dollar destroyer and seven missing sailors. Thank you President Obama.

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Anonymous

Best comment Anonymous. You are what is wrong with the world. I hope every junior officer that was up there is the complete opposite of what you “wonder”. To shut you up.

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Anonymous

On the contrary, the JO probably lost the ball on the nearby ships. It was reported that the cargo vessel had turned around, so my guess is the OOD freaked. No collision alarm was sounded so the CO was unaware. That’s his above point, it’s nice to include EVERYONE in the Navy officer ranks, just so long as you can live with these types of incidents. Why was the skipper still in his cabin, and not on the bridge? The OOD didn’t call him to the bridge, unless you are insinuating that the skipper was drunk. If you think the OOD, JOOD, and conn are going to hang this fender bender on the CO, then you are crazy. I blame Obama for purposefully lowering the entrance standards for the Navy officer corp. Hopefully, Trump will realize this and push these losers out of the Navy.

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Michael E. Brammer

USS Boulder ran around in 1988. The USS Berkeley (another Destroyer) struck a tour boat in 1988 as well. The USS Eisenhower (a carrier) struck a coal ship also in 1988. Finally a sub (Sam Houston) ran around in 1988 as well. All of these attributable to Reagan’s handling of the Navy I suppose?

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Michael E. Brammer

In March 2009 well in the window of Bush’s decisions regarding the Navy, the USS Hartford (a sub) collided with another US Naval vessel. The Board found gross dereliction on the Hartford.

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Anonymous

Anonymous,

You are the armpit of this country. It’s people like you that destroy any chance of unity among people with different political views. I pray you don’t have kids.

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Angela N. Taylor

A “weak officer, probably a woman or a black?” WTF? Are you saying that we’re incompetent for command at sea? Racist and sexist much? Rather than hide behind a mask of anonymity, why don’t you at least share your qualifications to justify your ignorant statement? Armchair admirals like yourself really piss me off. A.N. Taylor, LCDR, USN (Ret)

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D Paul

As a 4 year shipboard vet, I have done research on the background of the captain. He was in an affirmative action program called “accelerated command advancement”. As I, he had a degree in history from a Jesuit university. He came from a minesweeper as did the Japanese ethnic captain that he replaced. From pictures given, it is a mystery how he qualified for an affirmative action advancement program.

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jbq2

As a four year shipboard vet, I have checked out the background of the captain. He was ROTC from Marquette and had a history degree as I from a Jesuit university. He was in an affirmative action program called “accelerated command advancement”. I have no idea from pictures posted just what his background was to qualify him for an affirmative action position. He came from a minesweeper as did the previous Japanese ethnic captain. It appears that Bryce Benson did not have the proper credentials. Decisions on the quarterdeck while he slept appear to bear this out. Those under his command are part of his responsibility and those whom he placed in authority failed under the stress of the moment. It also appears mysterious that he was medivacked off the ship with a head injury and then released from the hospital the very next day.

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Jim Reece

By photo of merchant vessel, Fitzgerald collided at an angle so acute as to suggest it was attempting to overtake the MV, and uh…oops, kinda scraped off their starboard wing, in the passing. However, everyone on the USN bridge knew they were in “quarters’ long before this occurred, and the more I look at the facts at hand, the more impossible any defense by the Fitzgerald for this collision becomes. Any officer having command of navigation at the time of this incident who would undertake such an act, would have already exhibited his potential for doing so, long before this. The twist, however, lies in Bryce having not worked within the same chain of command on that vessel, prior to having taken command. Big administrative flaw. Thus, his only option, upon boarding, should have been taking twelve hours of ‘presence’, on the bridge, each night, until having established the thought process of his unknown subordinates, prior to relinquishing control. He did not. Let’s hope this makes him a poster boy for a new “Don’t Give It Up So Easily” movement.

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Anonymous

That is one on the busiest shipping lanes in the world….what was the captain doing asleep in his cabin? At least have the Ops stand an OOD watch. Something stinks about this incident.

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Nick Thomas

His former command USS GUARDIAN (MCM 5) was subsequently grounded and dismantled. Yeah…this unfortunate guy has the curse of bad luck, and will most likely be relieved of duty, (possibly prosecuted) and discharged from the US Navy.

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MikT

USS Guardian grounding: “The U.S. Federal Government apologized for the incident and relieved four officers: LCDR Mark Rice, Commanding Officer; LT Daniel Tyler, Executive Officer; the Lieutenant (j.g.) who was Officer of the Deck; and a QMC who was Assistant Navigator and Quartermaster of the Watch at the time of the mishap.”

Cdr. Bryce was not on the Guardian when it grounded.

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LJ Cook

Reading his qualifications, he put his time in on other ships, and had to have something to be given his own command. But this could be a career stopper, even if he was not present on the bridge it being late at night. But the ship is his total responsibility, no matter where he may be, unless not on board for reasons. But that too, would reflect upon his leadership qualities. Even if not found at fault, he could still be removed from command, under the ”lost confidence in his ability to lead” often used. Will depend totally on the investigation of the collision and its facts.
The missing, injured and keeping the ships afloat, are the main focus right now. And I am also sure, if alert, and able, the Captain has retained/been assigned an attorney from the JAG office and probably instructed to no say anything at this time. Me, I remember my boating days, no brake pedals, and takes time to stop, even in full reverse. Multiply that many times over, and you have ships. Takes miles to stop, and change courses. Radar shows where other ships, and even a plotted course, but what if the other captain decides to steer a different course. You have moments to react, then it becomes too late.

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Nick Thomas

Nice assessment. I was just thinking the same. The US Navy is quick to relieve commanding officers due to Public Trust inherent to the whole business. In fact, submarine officer’s careers are done if the boat hits any object while they are assigned to it; they will NEVER see command. The reason is luck..if you are unlucky enough to be an officer onboard a sub which ran aground, you won’t be entrusted with command…because the Admiralty deams you unlucky.

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Nick Thomas

Not to mention the real reason is the nuclear reactor onboard..which will destroy the whole program if one of those reactors causes damage to the environment.

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Jason

Could be a career stopper? LOL. His career is effectively over and he will be fortunate indeed if he isn’t court martialled and dismissed. His maladmistration led to the near sinking of his ship and the death of several crew. The Fitzgerald could be declared a total loss.

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Greg Arnold

In the captain’s Night Orders which are signed by the Officer of the Deck and senior watchstander in CIC on the various watches, the Captain should have left instructions to be awakened when there is a CPA (closest point of approach) indicated by any vessel usually 5,000 yds, particularly in the region where the incident took place.
Those waters are a miserable place for heavy ship traffic, especially at night. Been there, done that…USCG veteran.

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Edward Borges-Silva

Unlikely the ship will be declared a total loss based on the apparent damage. The proper shipyard would be fully capable of making repairs, but the ship will never lose it’s reputation for being unlucky, some have already linked it by name with the ore carrier, “Edmund Fitzgerald,” which went down in a severe storm on Lake Superior in November of 1975.

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