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

From musicians to medicine: AF Marathon recruiting army of volunteers
From musicians to medicine: AF Marathon recruiting army of volunteers

From musicians to people handing out medals, an army of volunteers run the Air Force Marathon. May 1 is the first day to register to join a horde of 2,400 volunteers needed to jump start the Sept. 15 event that may draw as many as 15,000 runners from all 50 states and around the world to run a 10K, half- and full-marathons at Wright-Patterson. The...
Australia, NZ, U.S. troops to mark ANZAC Day at Wright-Patt
Australia, NZ, U.S. troops to mark ANZAC Day at Wright-Patt

Australian, New Zealand and U.S. Air Force troops will mark ANZAC Day in a ceremony Wednesday at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. ANZAC Day commemorates the first major battle Australian and New Zealand troops fought as allies in World War I. The ceremony is set from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the Air Force museum’s Memorial Park. RELATED...
The fascinating 19th century history behind a Springfield school namesake
The fascinating 19th century history behind a Springfield school namesake

This Memorial Day, Clark Countians may need to be reminded that Gen. J. Warren Keifer’s last name rhymes with Michelle Pfeiffer’s last name and isn’t pronounced like Kiefer Sutherland’s first. It also would bear mention that the man for whom Springfield’s public alternative high school is named commanded a brigade of...
Air Force urged to pick Wright-Patterson for hundreds more jobs
Air Force urged to pick Wright-Patterson for hundreds more jobs

Wright-Patterson could add 400 jobs if Air Force leaders are persuaded by Ohio’s congressional delegation to locate a F-35 stealth fighter office to the Miami Valley base. The Defense Department and the Air Force have not said how many bases are in contention for the F-35 Product Hybrid Support Integrator Organization. But Dayton Area Chamber...
AF Thunderbirds return to practice, but more shows could be canceled
AF Thunderbirds return to practice, but more shows could be canceled

The Air Force Thunderbirds return to training over the Nevada desert Wednesday, but have not announced a date the demonstration team will return to the air show circuit, the team’s leader said. The team had suspended flights and canceled public performances since a tragic April 4 crash killed Maj. Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno during...
More Stories