USA military community in Japan offers support after USS Fitzgerald tragedy

US warship clash site known for congested nighttime traffic

One of the seven sailors who lost his life after a container ship slammed into the side of a Navy destroyer reportedly sacrificed himself to save his shipmates. All Navy crews are trained extensively in damage control and emergency operations underway; that training may have kept the ship afloat and prevented more sailors from dying in the collision's aftermath. The two Navy leaders were struck by stories of heroism and sacrifice, both by the sailors aboard and their families back home. The Navy needs to "protect the integrity of those proceedings", he said, cautioning that "speculation, rumors, hearsay or second guessing won't be helpful". The ship is named after the country's 38th President, who served in the Navy during World War II. However, he said there are specific exceptions.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of the US 7th Fleet told reporters the Fitzgerald suffered extensive flooding and damage caused by a large puncture below the waterline on the starboard side underneath the pilot house. "They had to fight this ship to keep it above the surface".

The Japan Coast Guard has retrieved the Crystal's VDR, and investigators will use this data in parallel with tracking information stored by the Fitzgerald's powerful Aegis weapons guidance system to develop a detailed analysis of the events leading up to the collision.

Navy divers found the bodies of seven in the listing ship after it returned to a USA base in Yokosuka, Japan.

The ship's commander, Cmdr.

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The American Red Cross was one of the first groups to respond, meeting the sailors at the pier with comfort kits, said Regional Program Director Amanda Rolsen. Seven sailors died as a result and the captain and two others were injured.

The Navy member familiar with the incident said that in retrospect, there was little chance that the Fitzgerald was going to sink because of the damage.

Separately, CNN reports that five of the seven sailors who perished in the collision were incapacitated and killed nearly immediately, based on the location of their berths and the extent of the physical damage to the ship. From bottom left to right, Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Conn.; Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas; and Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio.

The collision ripped the Fitzgerald open and water poured in the vessel, according to the news network.

Investigators are examining the ship's movements, including its location, direction, speed and other data to determine the cause of its collision with the USS Fitzgerald early Saturday off Izu Peninsula, west of Tokyo.

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