Disaster in the Pacific

Death and Neglect in the 7th Fleet

Broken ships. Poor training. Ignored warnings. Multiple tragedies. The world’s most powerful armada in decline.

Featured

Faulty Equipment, Lapsed Training, Repeated Warnings: How a Preventable Disaster Killed Six Marines

Marine commanders did not act on dozens of pleas for additional manpower, machinery and time. When a training exercise ended in death, leadership blamed the very men they had neglected.

The Navy Installed Touch-Screen Steering Systems to Save Money. 10 Sailors Paid With Their Lives.

When the USS John S. McCain crashed in the Pacific, the Navy blamed the destroyer’s crew for the loss of 10 sailors. The truth is the Navy’s flawed technology set the McCain up for disaster.

Years of Warnings, Then Death and Disaster

How the Navy failed its sailors

Death and Valor on an American Warship Doomed by its Own Navy

Investigation finds officials ignored warnings for years before one of the deadliest crashes in decades.

Other Entries

Warship Accidents Left Sailors Traumatized. The Navy Struggled to Treat Them.

Recent wars have forced the U.S. military to acknowledge and treat the psychological wounds caused by trauma. But some sailors who survived 2017’s deadly crashes say the Navy’s efforts to help them sometimes fell short.

17 Sailors and Six Marines Died in Avoidable Accidents. Congress Questions Whether the Problems Have Been Fixed.

After ProPublica found that inadequate training and faulty equipment helped kill 23 servicemen, House Armed Services Committee members grilled Navy and Marine leaders about the deadly accidents and whether America is ready for war.

A Preventable Disaster Killed Six Marines. After Our Story, Congress Has Questions for Military Leaders.

A ProPublica investigation showed senior military leaders were worried about how prepared American sailors and Marines were for combat.

Trump Says U.S. Is Ready for War. Not All His Troops Are So Sure.

A series of accidents calls the military’s preparedness into question.

Adrift: How the Marine Corps Failed Squadron 242

Falling from 15,000 feet, two Marines hit the Pacific Ocean at 800 feet per minute. They were bruised and cold, their rescue equipment failed and help was hours away.

The Men Who Lost Their Lives When Their Tanker Went Down in a Doomed Military Training Flight

There were five Marines inside the KC-130J Hercules fuel tanker high above the Pacific when it went down. Here are brief profiles of the lost tanker crew.

How We Reconstructed the Flawed Navigation Controls Behind the Navy’s Worst Maritime Accident in 40 Years

To see the complex navigation system aboard the USS John S. McCain is to wonder how any amount of training would have been enough for sailors to have been confident using it.

Blame Over Justice: The Human Toll of the Navy’s Relentless Push to Punish One of Its Own

Navy Cmdr. Bryce Benson accepted responsibility for the deadly crash of the USS Fitzgerald and was told, “That’s done now.” But when another ship crashed, the Navy decided it wasn’t through with him. Its pursuit nearly destroyed him and his family.

Iran Has Hundreds of Naval Mines. U.S. Navy Minesweepers Find Old Dishwashers and Car Parts.

As tensions heat up in the Persian Gulf, the Navy’s minesweeping fleet may once again be called into action, but its sailors say the ships are too old and broken to do the job. “We are essentially the ships that the Navy forgot.”

Trump Keeps Talking About the Last Military Standoff With Iran — Here’s What Really Happened

In 2016, 10 sailors were captured by Iran. Trump is making it a political issue. Our investigation shows that it was a Navy failure, and the problems run deep.

Sailors Report Enduring Concerns About Navy Readiness and Leadership

Sailors from every active fleet responded to a ProPublica callout, noting a continued lack of training, widespread exhaustion and an acute sense of vulnerability.

The Salty Curmudgeon and the BIC

How a serendipitous visit from two veterans informed our reporting.

How the Navy’s Top Commander Botched the Highest-Profile Investigation in Years

On Wednesday, the Navy said it was abandoning all remaining criminal charges against sailors involved in fatal accidents in the Pacific. Here’s how the actions of the chief of naval operations helped doom the cases.

An Admiral Told a Senator Most Navy Reforms Were “Complete.” Navy’s No. 2 Says Otherwise.

Adm. Bill Moran told ProPublica this week that none of the promised reforms had been completed, but that work had started on the pledges.

Navy Leaders Taken to Task by Lawmakers, Including One Who Was Grilling a Former Boss

Rep. Elaine Luria, an ex-Navy commander, showed her insider knowledge of naval operations in questions to the admirals appearing before a House Armed Services Committee panel.

Help Us Find Out Whether Navy Reforms Are Actually Making a Difference

The Navy promised to implement reforms in the wake of two deadly 2017 crashes. We’re trying to find out how it’s doing — and we need to hear from sailors in all six of the numbered fleets that patrol the world’s oceans.

Navy Promised Changes After Deadly Accidents, but Many Within Doubt It’s Delivering on Them

Interviews and an examination of the Navy’s publicly announced reforms raise uncertainty over whether senior leaders have fully followed through on them after the 7th Fleet disasters in 2017.

Investigation of Disasters Sparks Debate Over Navy’s Readiness and Responsibilities

ProPublica’s examination of the causes behind two fatal collisions in the Pacific has set off an intense conversation among current and former Navy sailors and commanders as well as everyday citizens about the state of the U.S. Navy.

Senate Committee Grills Navy Official Over 2017 Collisions, Seeking Data to Prove Conditions Have Changed

During an Armed Services Committee hearing that referenced ProPublica’s investigation into the deadly mishaps, a senator pressed the top commander in the Pacific to give “real numbers,” “not promises and not good feelings.”

In Navy Disasters, Neglect, Mistakes, and 17 Lost Sailors

Snapshots of the sailors who perished in a pair of collisions in the Pacific in 2017.

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