Navy report: Errors led to crash that killed Champaign County sailor


The Navy placed partial blame on a ship collision that killed 10 sailors — including one from Champaign County — on “poor seamanship” and a “failure to follow safe navigational practices,” a U.S. Fleet Forces Command report concluded.

Petty Officer 2nd class Jacob Drake, a Triad High School graduate, was killed in the collision. The U.S.S. John McCain collided with a merchant ship in the South China Sea on Aug. 21. Drake served as an electronics technician on the ship.

MORE: Body of Champaign County sailor who died in Navy crash comes home

Drake’s sister and fiancee declined to comment Friday on the crash report.

The Navy also released a report on the June collision involving U.S.S Fitzgerald and also found that errors made by that crew were partially to blame for the crash. An Ohio Sailor, Petty Officer 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, of Elyria, was killed in that collision.

The U.S.S McCain collision ripped a hole in the destroyer’s left rear hull and flooded adjacent compartments, including crew berths, and machinery and communication rooms.

RELATED: Navy releases report on ship crashes that killed Ohio sailors, other

The Navy report concluded a degradation of watch team performance and an erosion of readiness, planning and safety practices contributed to the maritime crashes. Navy investigators added a “can-do” culture undermined basic watch standing and safety standards, the report says.

The investigation also noted the demands of U.S warships stretched thin by commitments in the Western Pacific and the inadequacy of headquarters staff to identify and assess risks at sea.

The mishaps were among four reported involving U.S. warships in the Pacific this year, investigators noted.

Military.com, a website that covers the armed forces, reports that some service members could be charged with crimes in connection with the accidents.

READ: Champaign County fallen sailor funeral today

Drake has been honored multiple times by the community, including with candlelight vigils, an escort to the funeral home and a funeral that many veterans attended. The family has said they appreciate the support shown.

His sister, Veronica Drake, previously described her older brother as outgoing but didn’t talk often with her about his job. Instead, he regularly asked for updates about his family in North Lewisburg and in particular for photos of their several cats.

They last spoke just a few days before Drake went missing.

MORE COVERAGE: Springfield WWII bomber pilot honored for clean flying record

He joined the Navy after graduating from Triad in part because of the possibility of travel, she has told the Springfield News-Sun. The destroyer is based at the U.S. 7th Fleet’s home port of Yokosuka, Japan, and his sister said he enjoyed hiking throughout the country and visiting cat cafes.

“When I think of Jake, I just think of when he’d have all his friends over and they’d be sitting in the living room with their computers, taking stuff apart,” Veronica Drake has said. “It’s little things like that. He always had a lot of friends and a lot of people that care about him.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Military

First exercise of new year set at Wright Patt
First exercise of new year set at Wright Patt

Wright-Patterson will launch its first base-wide exercise of 2018 between Jan. 29 to Feb.5, authorities say. RELATED: Will a shutdown happen? Wright-Patt in holding pattern Base personnel and visitors may be delayed getting through or out of gateways at times during the security exercise, officials said. RELATED: Ohio fighter jet unit heads to Baltic...
Fears grow as shutdown deadline nears
Fears grow as shutdown deadline nears

President Donald Trump and Congress appear to be careening toward a partial shutdown of the federal government, though lawmakers expressed some hope Tuesday they can at least approve a temporary spending bill that would keep the government running beyond the Friday deadline. It’s far from a sure bet, though, and there are growing fears the government...
Will a shutdown happen? Wright Patt in holding pattern
Will a shutdown happen? Wright Patt in holding pattern

In a familiar and more frequent holding pattern in recent months and years, thousands of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employees await word on whether the federal government will avert the latest shutdown threat on Friday. Congressional Democrats and Republicans appear further at odds now than perhaps anytime since September. Since then, Congress...
Ohio fighter jet unit heads to Baltic region
Ohio fighter jet unit heads to Baltic region

Ohio’s only fighter jet wing has sent 12 F-16 Fighting Falcons to Europe as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, officials said. RELATED: New flight controls added to B-17F Memphis Belle The Toledo-based 180th Fighter wing deployed the fighter jets and 250 Ohio Air National Guardsmen to Amari Air Base, Estonia, in the Baltic region. The mission...
Worker who sent mistaken missile message reassigned
Worker who sent mistaken missile message reassigned

The person who hit the button that sent an emergency alert warning people living in or visiting Hawaii that a ballistic missile was heading to the island state has been reassigned. USAToday reported that the person responsible for the mistaken alert has been reassigned. That individual, who has not been named, has worked for the agency for a decade...
More Stories