Navy filing homicide charges against 2 ship commanders

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON -

The U.S. Navy says it is filing negligent homicide charges against the commanders of two ships involved in fatal collisions last year.

The charges are to be presented at what the military calls an Article 32 hearing, which will determine whether the accused are court-martialed.

The actions, including charges against several lower-ranking officers, were announced Tuesday by the Navy's chief spokesman, Capt. Greg Hicks.

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Hicks says the decision to file charges was made by Adm. Frank Caldwell, head of the Navy's nuclear reactors program, who reviewed evidence of what caused the collisions. The USS Fitzgerald collided with a commercial ship in waters off Japan in June, killing seven sailors. 

Ten sailors, including Cherry Hill resident Kennedy Smith, were killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asia in August. Smith was stationed on the McCain for two years.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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