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

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