NPR

Navy Navigation Errors May Have Killed More Troops Than Afghanistan So Far in 2017

The Navy has commissioned its latest big investigation after a series of deadly accidents in the Western Pacific, but there are no easy answers to the problems with the fleet.
The USS John S. McCain was left with a hole on its port side after a collision with oil tanker earlier this week, one of three such incidents this summer. / ROSLAN RAHMAN / Getty Images

A heartsick surface Navy is vowing to find answers after a series of mishaps that could make the peacetime Western Pacific deadlier for U.S. troops this year than Afghanistan.

The Navy began, as it often does, with accountability: On Wednesday it fired the three-star admiral whose command in the Western Pacific suffered at least four big accidents this year, two of which may have killed a combined 17 sailors.

An officer aboard the destroyer USS Stethem also was lost overboard off the Philippines on Aug. 1.

That compares to 11 service members killed in Afghanistan — details are available from and -- where President Trump on Monday authorized a big new deployment of

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR4 min readPolitics
Hard-Line Brexiteer Boris Johnson To Become Britain's New Prime Minister
Johnson will inherit a slate of problems from Theresa May, including a small majority in Parliament, government resignations and escalations with Iran. And then there's Brexit.
NPR7 min read
Stepping Into The Sun: A Mission To Bring Solar Energy To Communities Of Color
Solar energy has taken off across the U.S. As an African American working in the industry, Jason Carney wants to make sure minority communities don't miss out on the energy savings or the green jobs.
NPR5 min read
Productivity, Retention And Cost Savings: Why Working From Home Benefits Employees And Employers
One way to reduce traffic and the number of hours workers spend commuting is to have more people work from home more often.