Skipper of US Navy destroyer sacked after crashing into canoe

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One week after it was reported that the US Navy destroyer USS Stethem had run over a small boat near Subic Bay, the ship’s skipper has been fired.

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Commander. John Bradford was relieved by his immediate superior “due to loss of confidence in Bradford’s ability to command,” according to a Task Force 70 – in a statement released on Friday.

“The decision to relieve Bradford came after a recent incident involving a 19-foot wooden vessel reportedly hit by Stethem while the ship was underway from Subic Bay, Philippines, October 13,” the release said.

According to Philippine media reports, the unlit canoe crossed Stethem’s course at 8.36pm. The boat’s occupants dove into the ocean to avoid the collision and were rescued uninjured by Stethem’s crew.

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Captain Chris Sweeney, the deputy commodore of Destroyer Squadron 15, is in command of the boat until a permanent replacement is named, the report said.

The Stethem, which is based in Japan, is on patrol with the Seventh Fleet.

Bradford is a Cornell graduate who has served on the destroyer John S McCain and the dock landing ship Fort McHenry. He has also served tours on Stethem as combat systems officer, engineering officer and executive officer.

He has been reassigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 as noted by the U.S. Navy report.

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