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USS Fitzgerald officer pleads guilty in collision that killed 7 sailors

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A junior officer on the destroyer USS Fitzgerald has pleaded guilty to a dereliction of duty charge in connection with a collision that killed seven sailors last year, the Navy announced Tuesday.

Lt. j.g. Sarah Coppock will forfeit a half-month’s pay for three months and receive a punitive letter as punishment, according to a Navy statement.

“Our Sailors personify honor, courage, and commitment,” the statement read, in part. “The Navy will not accept complacency, negligence, or other behaviors contrary to its core values.”

According to the Navy Times, Coppock was serving as officer at the deck at the time the Fitzgerald struck a commercial ship off the coast of Japan early on the morning of June 17. She was accused of failing to follow the commanding officer’s standing orders and international navigation rules.

In August, the Navy announced that the Fitzgerald’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, would be removed from duty, along with the ship’s second-in-command and the top senior enlisted sailor. – READ MORE

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