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Former USS John S. McCain Sailors Honored

Credit: U.S. Navy
Credit: U.S. Navy

By The Maritime Executive 09-28-2019 10:12:47

Six Sailors who distinguished themselves for their bravery and contributions to damage control efforts aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), were recognized during a ceremony at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado on September 26.

The USS John S McCain collided with the tanker Alnic MC on August 21, 2017. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated the collision was caused by insufficient training, inadequate bridge operating procedures and a lack of operational oversight.

10 sailors aboard the USS John S McCain died and 48 were injured when the ships collided in the Middle Channel passage of the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme. The USS John S McCain, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer with a crew of 280, and the Alnic MC, a Liberian-flagged chemical tanker carrying a partial load of cargo with a crew of 24, were transiting towards Singapore in the westbound lane of the Singapore Strait Traffic Separation Scheme. 

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday and Vice Adm. Richard Brown, Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, presented awards to the Sailors who were unable to attend a presentation on the ship earlier this year. The Sailors recognized during the ceremony were Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Donnel Robinson, Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Ivan Cruz, Damage Controlman 2nd Class Anthony Dana, Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Yong Gao, Damage Controlman 2nd Class Harley Peterson, and Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Jonathan Spence.

“Through the actions of these Sailors, you can see very clearly the true meaning of ‘Honor, Courage, and Commitment,’” said Gilday. “Today, the entire Navy says ‘thank you.’ We are grateful to you and to many other McCain Sailors stationed around the globe for the force of your example, an example of the attributes we all aspire towards, and an example that I am committed as your CNO to honoring along with the rest of our Navy team. We will also remember, and will never forget, our fallen shipmates and their families.”

The Sailors were honored for exhibiting a battle-mindedness and selfless commitment to the ship and their shipmates.

On July 10, Adm. John Aquilino, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, along with Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, presented medals to seven members of the McCain crew in attendance in Yokosuka, Japan.

Overall, the Navy has recognized 50 Sailors who distinguished themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement or meritorious service following the collision. 

The crew fought back against progressive flooding across numerous spaces for many hours. Facing constant peril from flooding, electrocution, structural damage and noxious fumes, these Sailors prevented further loss of life and ultimately saved the ship.

One of McCain’s Ombudsmen, Lakela Granados was also honored for her actions providing counseling and support to the ship’s crew and families following the collision.

The list of all personnel receiving awards is:

Navy and Marine Corps Medal
·         Lt. Aaron Van Driessche
·         Chief Warrant Officer Michael Calhoun
·         Damage Controlman 1st Class Justin Ramirez
·         Damage Controlman 1st Class Michael Cooper
·         Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 1st Class Delando Beckford
·         Operations Specialist 3rd Class Malachi Shannon
·         Ship’s Serviceman 2nd Class Mark Williams

Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
·         Lt. Michael Shofner
·         Lt. j.g. Kathryn Hussey
·         Lt. j.g. Meghan Meriano
·         Chief Warrant Officer Joshua Patat
·         Senior Chief Gas Turbine Systems Technician Bryan Hayes
·         Chief Damage Controlman Anthony Ebarb
·         Damage Controlman 1st Class Hosey Brooks
·         Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Alan Aaron
·         Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Justin Lam
·         Hull Technician 2nd Class Darwin Dunlap
·         Machinist Mate 1st Class Nicholas Healy
·         Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Jonathan Spence
·         Machinist Mate 2nd Class Joseph Ligon
·         Damage Controlman 3rd Class Harley Peterson
·         Electronics Technician 2nd Class Royce Black

Navy Achievement Medal
·         Lt. j.g. Glory Armentrout
·         Lt. j,g, Jordan Snitzer
·         Lt. j.g. Madelyn Ryden
·         Lt. j.g. Thomas Foster
·         Ensign Daniel Coley
·         Ensign James Brisotti
·         Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Donnel Robinson
·         Chief Personnel Specialist Philip Torio
·         Culinary Specialist 1st Class Christopher Plowden
·         Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 1st Class Mark Winter, Jr.
·         Machinery Repairman 1st Class John Ray, III
·         Navy Counselor 1st Class Menh Luc
·         Damage Controlman 2nd Class Anthony Dana
·         Electricians Mate 2nd Class Ethan Golston
·         Engineman 2nd Class Edwin Loredo
·         Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Electrical) 2nd Class Thomas Neff
·         Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Yong Gao
·         Hull Technician 2nd Class Laurin Bynoe
·         Machinist Mate 2nd Class Jorge Rivera
·         Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Jerrell Dean
·         Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Tevin Vassel
·         Damage Controlman 3rd Class Christopher Christensen
·         Damage Controlman 3rd Class Jeremy Snyder
·         Electricians Mate 3rd Class Alejandro Alemanayala
·         Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Electrical) 3rd Class Steven Osenbruk
·         Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 3rd Class Ivan Cruz
·         Machinist Mate 3rd Class Elijah Swantkoski
·         Electricians Mate Fireman Lashawn Kellom, Jr.

Superior Public Service Award
·         Lakela Granados
·         Kathleen Hoar