USS Bonhomme Richard Fire Suspect Charged

| July 30, 2021


Fighting the fire onboard USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego.

The Navy will bring criminal charges against a sailor suspected of setting a fire on the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, which burned for four days at pier in San Diego last summer and will be scrapped as unrepairable.

The sailor, a former member of the ship’s company, has not been identified. The charges being brought are aggravated arson and willful hazarding of a vessel, said Navy spox.

Several of our usual suspects send.

Navy: Sailor suspected of starting fire that destroyed ship on San Diego Bay

by: Matt Meyer

SAN DIEGO — Military officials are bringing charges against a sailor suspected of starting the destructive Navy ship fire that burned for four days in San Diego last year and ultimately led to the vessel’s decommissioning.

The U.S. Navy said last August that the July 2020 blaze on the USS Bonhomme Richard was a suspected arson and that a sailor had been questioned as part of the investigation, but little more about the case was disclosed in the months that followed. On Thursday, Navy authorities announced their criminal investigation had turned up enough evidence to consider court-martial charges against a sailor who served on the warship.

“Evidence collected during the investigation is sufficient to direct a preliminary hearing in accordance with due process under the military justice system,” Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a spokesperson for the U.S. 3rd Fleet, wrote in a statement. “The Sailor was a member of Bonhomme Richard’s crew at the time and is accused of starting the fire.”

This is sounding a lot like the fire set onboard USS Miami (SSN 755) at pier side back in 2012. It too was decommissioned in March 2014, and was scrapped of via the Nuclear Ship-Submarine Recycling Program.

Fox 5 San Diego

Thanks, Usual Suspects.

Category: Crime, Guest Link, Navy

Comments (42)

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  1. Slow Joe says:

    Wait. This happened before? How come is so easy to sabotage a Navy ship?
    Where is the insider threat task force? No MP? No internal surveillance?

    By the way, due to the time frame when this happened, was it related to BLM the Summer Riots of last year?

  2. Martinjmpr says:

    I want to see that statement of charges for $4 billion. At that rate the Navy will have to keep him in until the next millennium in order to recoup their losses.

    • Green Thumb says:

      The Army came after the E-4 who somehow had the “authority” and the power of the purse to order 4 million Chinese made black berets.

      I just hope the Navy does their homework and gets this one right.

      • AW1Ed says:

        I well recall USS Iowa’s turret explosion, and the ensuing clown show by NCIS agents.

        • The Iowa turret explosion was caused by an over ramming of the powder bags or the air ejector that blows out any sparks from a previous firing wasn’t working according to my Dad who was Coast Arty during WW2 and he was a 16 inch gun instructor. Dad says that after a firing, they used a wet mop to also clean out any sparks. Turns out some time later, powder bags were dropped off a tower during a test and one of the bags ignited when it hit the deck. I heard that during the 1980’s, one of the USS Okinawa Snipes set the Engineering berthing compartment on fire so as to avoid going out to sea. Fire was so bad that the damage control party flooded the whole compartment due to deck plates and bulkheads starting to warp. Looks like my old bunk burnt to a crisp.

          • The Other Whitey says:

            The Iowa now has a memorial on the starboard side of Turret 2, and the museum volunteers don’t hold back in calling bullshit on the Navy’s official investigation.

    • Claw says:

      Nope, Sorry, No Statement of Charges allowed. The potential loss exceeds a one time only monthly base pay amount and cannot be prorated over xxx amount of months until ETS or end of term in a Federal Pound-Em-In-The-Ass facility. At least, (for the Army, anyway), the proper paperwork for payroll deduction would be on a legally sufficent Report of Survey or FLIPPLE-DIPPLE or whatever it is that they’re calling it these days. Don’t know how they would do it in the Navy, but pretty sure they would do something similiar paperwork wise./smile

  3. SFC D says:

    Is keelhauling still a thing?

  4. MarineDad61 says:

    Name the name.
    So everyone (from Navy and hometown) knows who it is.

  5. Ex-PH2 says:

    What was the excuse for setting the fire in the first place?

    That hasn’t been provided, probably won’t be.

  6. Slow Joe says:

    So, I got an off topic question.

    There this guy, Luis Elizondo, who is frequently on the news promoting UFO stuff and who claims to have served in the Army for 20 years as an counter intelligence special agent, and then in 5 sided asylum as director of the DOD UFO program.

    I think the dude is full of shit, especially because everything he does is to make money with TV shows about UFOs, rather than to provide actual evidence for his claims.

    Does anyone here got anything on this dude? Did he really serve?

    Thanks.

    • Slow Joe says:

      Interesting. Apparently the Black Vault have an article in which the pentagon claims Luis Elizondo had nothing to do with UFOs while working at the DOD.

      Now I have to research how credible this article is.

      https://www.theblackvault.com/documentarchive/the-pentagon-denies-luis-elizondos-role-in-aatip-heres-my-take/

      • The DOD said the same thing about Bob Lazar who was the Area 51 whistle blower. Meanwhile their are people who worked there and remembered him. On the subject, they don’t mention the Viet-Nam swift boats/vs UFO’s or the 1952 White house UFO fly over, Christofer Columbuses log book mentioning the lit up object shooting out of the ocean.

        • Slow Joe says:

          Who remembers Bob Lazar from Area 51?

          Everything I have seen about Bob Lazar points to scams and some crazy shit about controlled materials he was trying to sell online and got the FBI involved raiding his home for nuclear materials.

          Bob Lazar claims to be an MIT graduate, yet there is no record of him ever attending. His high school grades are public though, and there is no way in hell he could have gotten into MIT with such low grades.

          Nah. Bob Lazar is as full of shit as your average Stolen Valor embellisher.

          • rgr769 says:

            Lazar is a fraud, like most of these UFO promoters who are invariably hawking a book or their services. I used to listen to these clowns on Art Bell’s radio show. Almost all of them had a book they were peddling, or like ol’ “Major” Ed Danes, they were selling some kind of service or seminar. I remember listening to Danes tell us we needed to prepare for society to shut down because of the New Mellenium (2000) world-wide computer failure. He touted himself as a modern day Nostradamus and said he used his remote viewing skills to see the future of what would happen on 1/01/2000.

            • SFC D says:

              I love Art Bell and George Noory. Never believed a single person on their shows, but that’s some awesome entertainment!

            • Wasn’t Ed Danes involved in the Military’s Remote viewing Program?? Anyone out there old enough to remember Long John Nebel and Candy Jones.

  7. Sapper3307 says:

    Punishment options.
    Will be released after single handedly demolishing entire ship with hand tool (sledge/hacksaw).

    • KoB says:

      Yep, that’s a good idea. Or we could calculate how many tons of little rocks made out of big rocks (at an average of $30 a ton) it would take to pay for replacing this ship. Gonna be a lot of demand for gravel what with all of these “shovel ready” infrastructure jobs coming up. He better get started soon.

    • Mason says:

      After that he has to mop up the ocean he polluted.

  8. E4 Mafia '83-'87 says:

    Some Joe Shit The Rag Man wanted to out of some sort of duty to see his stripper girlfriend, so he starts this fire. It still doesn’t answer how it burned out of control for days. No way this guy was that sort of evil genius. As an HT/DC, we learned and trained on how the Enterprise & Forrestal survived unbelievable damage and still sailed home.

  9. QMC says:

    Oh, to at least be a fly in the wall of that sailor’s DRB with the rest of the Mess…….

  10. The Other Whitey says:

    “In accordance with due process under the military justice system…”

    Not saying the guy is innocent, but the quoted sentence hardly inspires confidence. Eddie Gallagher is a recent example, but there are plenty more, including USS Iowa’s explosion/gun breech failure cited by Jeff LPH-3 above. The Navy’s track record for due process and due diligence frankly sucks.

  11. Sparks says:

    So then, to my Navy Brothers, what would be the rightful punishment for this crime?

    • AW1Ed says:

      Reduction in rate to E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, Big Chicken Dinner, and many years of quality time behind bars with his new friends.

      Sorry, SFC D, but keel hauling has sadly been out of vogue for quite some time.

      • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

        I’m more in favor of him getting some time in the USDB followed up with a DD!

  12. Mike B USAF Retired says:

    Punishment, why worry about it?

    Some President will pardon him, he’ll become a cult hero for the morons, he’ll go on the talk show circuit, write a book, then run for political office…….

    Seriously isn’t this what happens nowadays?

  13. ninja says:

    UPDATE To The Story:

    “Sailor Charged with Arson in Bonhomme Richard Fire Claims Innocence, Lawyer Says”

    https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/07/30/sailor-charged-arson-bonhomme-richard-fire-claims-innocence-lawyer-says.html

    “A junior sailor charged with arson in connection with the fire aboard the Bonhomme Richard last summer insists that he’s innocent and is currently out of jail ahead of a trial, his attorney told Military.com.”

    “On Thursday, the Navy announced that it had charged a sailor in connection with the conflagration that began July 12, 2020, in the ship’s “Deep V” lower cargo hold. The blaze lasted for four days and burned at more than 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The incident is considered the Navy’s worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent history.”

    “Although the Navy has not publicly named the sailor, Cmdr. Sean Robertson, spokesman for the Navy’s Third Fleet based in San Diego, told Military.com on Friday that the male sailor, an E-2, is facing charges under Article 110, wrongful hazarding of a vessel, and Article 126, aggravated arson, of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”

    “Gary Barthel, the defense attorney for the accused sailor, said that his “client is adamant that he’s not guilty of anything that he’s been charged with.”

    “He maintains his innocence,” he added.”

    “The sailor is not currently locked in the brig, the attorney said.”

    “He’s currently performing his duties on a daily basis,” Barthel said, explaining that the accused arsonist is on shore duty, stationed with an amphibious squadron command in San Diego.”

    “To my knowledge, there’s no reason and there’s no intent on putting him back in the brig,” Barthel said.”

    “Robertson said that, while a timeline for any trial is not yet available, a preliminary hearing is the next step.”

    “Right now, we are in a position where the charges have been preferred. It means … he’s been charged,” Robertson explained.”

    “The accused sailor spoke with investigators shortly after the fire and was confined to the Marine Corps Station Miramar brig for several months late last year before being released, Barthel said.”

    “Neither the Navy nor Barthel would release the name of the sailor. Roberston said the government will identify the man if the charges are referred to court-martial. Barthel said that he didn’t “want to bring any more anxiety to him than what he’s already going through.”

    “The defense attorney explained that he has not yet seen the Navy’s evidence but added, “That’s not unusual.”

  14. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    How many more billion-dollar vessels does the Navy have to lose to get the message that “fire watch” is always required, and that the capability to isolate and fight fire is always required?

    Apparently more than two.

    Those ships are designed to survive combat with ship-killer equipped foes. If they can be destroyed in port by one asshole flicking his Zippo, then someone is deliberately making that possible.

    Until losing ships by stupidity is the end of multiple flag-rank types, this shit will not stop.

    The firebug EM in both cases was handed that opportunity, on a silver platter, by very senior officers. Where are -those- Courts Martial?

    • Poetrooper says:

      My concurrence with your reasoning, Mail.

      How in hell could a vessel like Bon Homme Richard possibly survive a swarm missile attack by a determined enemy if it can be brought to total ruin by a single sailor with a grudge and a BIC???

      By the way, ol’ Poe’s father served aboard the WWII Bon Homme Richard in the Pacific.

  15. When The USS Okinawa was in the Philly yards drydock for a refit, we always had men doing the fire watch armed with CO2 fire extinguishers while the yard birds were cutting and stick welding. We had a number of birds from the Brooklyn shipyard that were bussed every morning to Philly. I was up in the mast while they were cutting and some sparks started a canvas cover on fire which I put out but took some feed from the smoke blowing in my direction. In those days, we didn’t have safety harnesses so it was some experiance. Down in the reefer flats, one of the cutters from Brooklyn was wearing a leather jacket and cutting something in the bilges when I noticed smoke coming from his jacket then he stands up saying he smells something burning and I went over and saved his jacket. I forgot his name though after all these years. cutters and welders were two dufferent shops which I forgot the shop numbers. When I was assigned to fire watch, we all met in one space while the Birds were smoking and drinking coffee. When the break was over, the leadman comes in and yells: Drop your cocks and pickup your socks and get to work. While in drydock, we were on cold iron watch. On a 72, I even rode up to NY on the bus with the birds. Lots of stories.

  16. LC says:

    Update to this story, the sailor’s name is out – Ryan Mays, a BUD/S dropout who ‘hated the Navy’:

    https://news.yahoo.com/us-sailor-accused-torching-warship-111053284.html