In the wake of two destroyer crashes that killed 17 sailors over the summer, U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott H. Swift told The San Diego Union-Tribune on Thursday that he’s quickly revamping the way warship crews train, maintain their vessels and get credentialed for missions at sea.
“This transcends a professional responsibility. I feel a personal responsibility, a personal commitment to get after the challenges we face in the Pacific,” said Swift, who controls 60 percent of the Navy’s warships and oversees more than 140,000 sailors from the Pacific coast of the United States to the waters of North Korea and Australia.
“To be clear, I’m the one that is responsible. I’m the one who has the authorities to fix this. I’m the one to be held accountable for these events and I don’t shirk these responsibilities whatsoever.”
Swift’s call for reforms comes a week after the Navy’s top brass in the Pacific Fleet, Surface Forces Pacific and the embattled 7th Fleet met in the Japanese port city of Yokosuka to brainstorm ways to fix problems exposed by the deadly collisions of the Fitzgerald and John S. McCain with commercial shipping in the bustling sea lanes of Asia.
Flanked by Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden in the Naval Surface Forces commander’s Coronado office, Swift proposed the creation of what’s being called the Naval Surface Group Western Pacific.
Helmed by an unnamed captain who has held major command at sea, with a staff of between 30 — 50 experts in engineering, safety, maintenance, seamanship and training, the Group will report directly to Swift, a signal of what he said is the “urgency driven by…
click here to read more.