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Readiness Chair Garamendi Responds to Navy Investigation into the USS Bonhomme Richard Fire

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, angrily responded to the investigation and report the U.S. Navy conducted into the July 2020 fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard, which destroyed the $2 billion ship.

The investigation found that the material condition of the ship, training and readiness of the ship’s crew, and ineffective oversight by leadership contributed to the massive loss and damage that was incurred after a crew member intentionally set fire to the ship.

Garamendi released the following statement below after receiving a comprehensive briefing on the investigation:

“The loss of the USS Bonhomme Richard was a completely avoidable catastrophe,” Garamendi said. “Although the blaze was started by a disgusting act of arson, this was a manageable fire that consumed a multi-billion-dollar asset due to systemic failure and disregard for basic safety protocol. Today, I read the investigation with shock and anger. Once again, an avoidable military mishap occurred because of a low level of readiness, multiple training issues, and failures at ‘all levels of command.’ The loss of this ship is a colossal waste of taxpayer resources and deals a significant blow to the warfighting capabilities of the amphibious force.

“As Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, I have conducted numerous hearings into tragic, avoidable mishaps throughout the military. I will immediately begin investigating this matter to determine the full extent of the negligence and complacency that occurred and enact meaningful changes to transform the culture of neglect into a culture of safety throughout the Navy,” Garamendi concluded.

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