Culpability Found in USS Bonhomme Richard Fire

| July 16, 2022


USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) Ablaze at Pier Side

More than 20 sailors have been punished for the four-day fire that led to the loss of the warship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) in 2020, the Navy announced.

The disciplinary actions include letters of reprimand and forfeitures of pay for the former Captain and XO, as well as a punitive letter of reprimand for the ship’s Command Master Chief.

Other dispositions included six Nonjudicial Punishments (NJP) with guilty findings, two NJPs with Matter of Interest Filings (MIF) and a Letter of Instruction (LOI), two NJP dismissals with a warning, one additional MIF, five other LOIs, three Non-Punitive Letters of Caution (NPLOC), two letters to former sailors documenting substandard performance, and six no-action determinations.

Plus, a three star received a censure letter.

Jeff LPH 3 sends.

Vice admiral and two dozen others punished for USS Bonhomme Richard fire

By Geoff Ziezulewicz

The Navy announced Friday it disciplined more than two dozen service members for their roles in the July 2020 fire that destroyed the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard in San Diego.

Chief among the actions is a letter of censure issued by Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro against now-retired Vice Adm. Richard Brown, who was serving as the commander of Naval Surface Forces when the blaze was called away on July 12 as the amphib was undergoing maintenance on the waterfront.

Brown disputed any culpability for the bungled multi-day effort to extinguish the inferno in an interview with Defense News earlier this summer. He had already been informed the censure letter was coming.

Among other points of contention, Brown told Defense News he was never interviewed for the investigation and was told late last year that he had not been found culpable for the fire or the response.

Brown also said that his efforts to oversee the firefight after other admirals in the ship’s operational chain of command shirked their duty were ignored in the investigation. And he took issue with the officer who was appointed to lead the investigation, who Brown said had a conflict of interest.

“This was a political hit,” Brown told Navy Times Friday. “For whatever reason, to appease the Senate, to appease Congress, we’re going to hang a three star.”

Defense News

Not included are criminal charges the Navy has brought against suspected arsonist Seaman Apprentice Ryan Mays. His trial is set to begin in September. I’ll keep my opinion of Vice Admiral Brown to myself.

Thanks, Jeff.

Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Guest Link, Navy

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Hack Stone

So, leadership and damage control training for Sailors assigned to the ship were lacking? They probably never got to that unnecessary training because they were laser focused on completing training on using preferred pronouns of transgender members and how to recognize White Suprematism rage.

poetrooper

Ya gotta remember, Hack, as an old sailing buddy of Poe’s used to say, “It’s what’s important that counts…”

A Proud Infidel®™

And I bet they had that all-important SHARP Training up to date!

Prior Service.

Wow. Is this just a navy thing or did I not realize I had a whole bunch of other tools available? As an army commander I basically used “snatched up”, “jerk a knot in that a&#,” “wearing out,” passing off to senior NCO, publicly highlighting, counseling, and sometime summarized, company grade or field grade UCMJ. Wish I’d known about MIFs, LOIs and NPLOCs, so I could have ignored them in favor of verbal-, non-verbal and physical chastisement.

Andy11M

I’m sure the two sailors that already left the Navy and are receiving the letters of substandard performance are crying in 214 right now. Will the Navy also bend their dog tags?

KoB

Sure glad that Big Navy is gonna make sure that this never happens again. Now if they can just figure out how to keep their Aerial Artillery Platforms from being washed overboard.

Hey ‘Ed, don’t be putting your opinions of the dood on ice, man. Do we need to goose you to go all maverick into that danger zone? Have you lost that lovin’ feelin’ for him…or us? Inquiring minds want to know.

KoB

Yep, ’bout what I figured…and how I feel. The Pilgrim knew the job was dangerous when he took it. Tanks! gabaf

jeff LPH 3 63-66

I really can’t comment on the fire fighting aspect and the loss off the Bonny Dick but I’ve seen those WW2 videos of crew members fighting shipboard fires and saving their ship with just wearing their dungaree pants and shirts with the fire fighting gear from that era which we had onboard our ship when I was a crew member until their was an equipment change/upgrade.

HT3

Nowadays they have bunker pants/jackets, FF helmets, and Scott Air Packs. The gear is good, so what was the problem? Leadership? Training? Material condition of the BHR?

USN FF Gear.png
jeff LPH 3 63-66

Thanks HT3, I get Hard copy Navy Times monthly plus Navy Times Online and I have Blue Jacket manuals 24 and 25 PLUS my issued 1962 $ 1.95 from Boot Camp. When I was a member of Hose Company 1 ERFD Volly, we carried the Navy all purpose nozzle plus a couple of applicators and of course we had our variable fog and solid barrel nozzles. My issued Nassau County NY Volly training manual had those appliances in it as well as the Navy OBA so the manual dated itself. When I got into the Volly service, we used steel air bottles (Scott and MSA) and later switched to the Scott fiberglass wrapped 4.5 aluminum bottles. Got caught using a cheater by the Chief while at a job so that was the end of that. 5 years in theERFD and 25 years in the LBFD both depts in Nassau County Long Island NY. Nice 30 years. Brought my class A uniform, Nomex hood and my Cairns leather forever New yorker Helmet with tar on the bourks and over my unit rig.down to Florida when I retired from Brinks back in 2007.

poetrooper

“…so what was the problem?”

If he were to hazard a guess, ol’ Poe might suggest gender/pronoun confusion… 🤔 

HT3

DC work was my specialty. I’d like to know what the hell happened.

Hack Stone

Nothing. Nothing happened, because “Leadership” was in a dick measuring contest as the ship burned. As noted in previous threads about this incident, seemed as if everyone from the top down was trying to pass the buck when it came time for someone to be in charge. Too bad that any MCPO worth his salt who would have said “Fuck it!” and grabbed every available Sailor to fight the fire was pushed out a long time ago because he “toxic masculinity” had no place in today’s Woke Navy.

HT3

Men like Chief Farrier are in short supply nowadays. He’s the guy during the Forrestal fire that charges toward the inferno of A-4’s with a PKP extinguisher thinking only of the trapped pilots. The Chief and the rest of his DC party were killed when the first bombs went off. The Navy learned its lesson and made major changes. Let’s hope the BHR loss will do the same…probably during the next administration.

Last edited 6 months ago by HT3
jeff LPH 3 63-66

In the civilian world, when ever their is a FD LODD, OSHA comes out with a zillion page timeline report of what happened during the operation. I don’t know if it’s the same in the Navy even though no one died during the fire fighting evolution. Maybe that can be googled sometime down the line.

Brewer96

SWOs have been putting out absolute dog crap for 20 years. Eliminating the mandatory 6 months of baby SWOS (Surface Warfare Officer School) in Newport back in the early 2000’s, then shoving untrained department heads into the fleet after not enough OJT (on-the-job) training as Division Officers, has led to absolute crappy ship’s captain’s at the O-5 level, as well as a few other horrific situations. This includes two collisions in the WestPac about 5 years ago, the BHR, and plenty of others. The Fat Leonard debacle only exacerbated things with personnel movements required to overcome firings and reliefs that happened there, sending too many East Coast sailors to the WestPac in senior positions with zero experience with the political climate or rules of the area. Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s stupidity on how to “modernize” the Navy have really only been felt in the last 6-7 years, and add Obama’s ripping up DOD’s leadership, and we have another generation to go IF things EVER get better.

OlafTheTanker

Speaking merely as a dumb tanker that would see archive footage of sailors putting out fires shirtless and under enemy attack in WW2, then also turn around and UNSINK BATTLESHIPS and get them back in the fight in record time, I can’t imagine if the thought ever crossed anyones mind as the blaze roared into the 3rd day to just scuttle it to put out the fire and then refloat, it may have been a lot cheaper in the long run… considering it was a total write of anyways.

Oh wait, that would require leaders to actually take charge and make decisions.

Nevermind.

SFC D

In today’s “zero defect” military, nobody has the balls to make a decision. Everything just gets passed up and up until it’s too fuckin late to make a decision. It’s just as bad on the enlisted side. I used to have to approve things as the S3 NCOIC that should’ve been handled by a sharp squad leader.

Hack Stone

Firefighting efforts were hampered when enough protective gear for those who currently identify as a woman was not available.

Furthermore, when the announcement to “Man you firefighting station” was made, the LBGQT crew were triggered by the exclusive words.

poetrooper

Thank you, Hack Stone, for validating ol’ Poe’s suggestion farther up the thread… 😜 

A Proud Infidel®™

So now we hear choruses of “It’s not MY fault!” as reprimands come down for those responsible sitting with one thumb up their asses and the other in their mouths changing thumbs every two minutes while the SHTF!

Anonymous

It was the one-armed man!

Mustang Major

Kick the admirals and officers in the Burn Here Richard chain of command out of the navy. That one act will get the attention of other officers and make apparent their leadership responsibilities. Hopefully, unnecessary training will fall to the wayside.

Old tanker

A letter of censure to a RETIRED Admiral has exactly what impact on his career??? Unless they are going to recall him to active duty and demote him to reduce his pay, I fail to see what the letter does.

Hack Stone

Too bad Ensign Hunter Biden wasn’t on the watch that day. The ship would still burn, but at least all of it would have been recorded.