A year after Navy Ship Bonhomme Richard caught fire, Navy says a sailor will be charged with arson

San Diego Union-Tribune:

One of at least three key investigations into the devastating fire on the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard is complete, the Navy said in a statement Monday, exactly one year after the blaze broke out at the ship’s berth at Naval Base San Diego.

The U.S. Navy charged a sailor Thursday with starting a fire last year that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard docked off San Diego, marking the maritime branch’s worst warship blaze outside of combat in recent memory.

The amphibious assault ship burned for more than four days. Left with extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage, the ship was later scrapped. Estimates to replace it ran up to $4 billion.

The sailor was a member of the crew at the time, Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesperson, said in a statement. The sailor was charged with aggravated arson and the willful hazarding of a vessel, Robertson said. No name was released.

No other details were provided, and it was unclear what evidence was found or what the motive was.

The amphibious assault ships are among the few in the U.S. fleet that can act as a mini aircraft carrier.

In an emailed statement, a Navy spokesperson at the Pentagon said the command investigation is finished and under review by Navy leaders. Command investigations are administrative and often take a wide view of the circumstances surrounding military mishaps. They include timelines of events as they unfolded and seek to identify systemic issues in the Navy.

A separate investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing; a sailor was temporarily held in the brig last year in connection to the case.

“The command investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the fire aboard the former USS Bonhomme Richard July 12, 2020, is complete,” said Lt. Andrew DeGarmo, a Navy spokesperson. “The command investigation is under review and is expected to be completed later this summer.”

A Navy criminal investigation into the cause of the blaze by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is ongoing, DeGarmo said. In August, a Defense official told the Associated Press arson was suspected in the fire.

The sailor is known to have been 19 years old at the time, and was confined to prison for a while in November 2020. He has since been released and at this time his name has not yet been released.

However, one twitter account claims that he may have been an agent of Iran

This is a developing story

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