Commander Fired After Ship Collision

USS Essex collided with USNS Yukon May 16 just a day out from San Diego

By R. Stickney
|  Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012  |  Updated 10:56 AM PDT
View Comments (
Damage to USS Essex

NBCSanDiego/Navy Times

Capt. Chuck Litchfield (inset) was relieved of his command June 18.

Photos and Videos

USS Essex Arrives Back in SD

USS Essex arrived in San Diego Thursday morning, just one day after a collision with an oil replenishment ship. NBC 7 military reporter Lea Sutton surveyed the damage.
More Photos and Videos

A Navy commander was relieved from duty following his ship’s collision with another vessel off the coast of Southern California.

USS Essex collided with USNS Yukon May 16 during a replenishment operation about 120 miles off the coast.

The ships were just a day away from returning to San Diego when the collision occurred.

Essex CO Capt. Chuck Litchfield was relieved of his command Monday due to a “loss of confidence in his ability to command the Navy Times reports.

Even though the investigation is not complete, according Cmdr. Tamsen Reese, a Naval Surface Forces spokesperson in Coronado, Calif., however the collision began with partial loss of rudder control and was compounded with a breakdown in command and communication between the two ships.

No one was injured and no oil was spilled. The flight deck on the Yukon was damaged and the Essex suffered damage to an elevator, lifeboats and several catwalks.

Capt. Jonathan Harnden has been assigned to temporarily command Essex as it departs from San Diego for Hawaii Wednesday.

USNS Yukon is one of the Military Sealift Command's fifteen Fleet Replenishment Oilers. It is about 677.5 feet long.

USS Essex is an amphibious assault ship, about 840 feet long.

Follow NBCSanDiego for the latest news, weather, and events: iPad App | iPhone App | Android App | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram | RSS | Text Alerts | Email Alerts

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
Leave Comments
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out