Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.


Recent Posts By the Author


Former USS Fitzgerald CO Benson Vows to Take Collision Case to Trial

Former USS Fitzgerald CO Benson Vows to Take Collision Case to Trial

Cmdr. Bryce Benson, then-executive officer, assists in bringing down the battle ensign aboard USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) in 2016. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated with a statement from the Navy.

The former commander of the U.S. warship involved in a fatal collision off the coast of Japan last year is vowing to take his case to court-martial and is accusing Navy leadership of trying him in the press before his trial. Read More

Trial Date Set for McCain CO, Senior Enlisted Sailor; Fitzgerald CO Waives Preliminary Hearing

Trial Date Set for McCain CO, Senior Enlisted Sailor; Fitzgerald CO Waives Preliminary Hearing

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) is lowered from the heavy lift transport MV Treasure on December 13, 2017. US Navy Photo

A previous version of this story indicated that Chief Boatswain’s Mate Jeffery D. Butler had faced more serious charges earlier this year. In fact, Butler was neither charged with hazarding a vessel nor negligent homicide in January.

The former commander of USS John. S. McCain (DDG-56) and a senior enlisted crewmember will face separate courts-martial next week for their roles in a fatal collision that killed ten sailors in August. Read More

USS Fitzgerald Combat Team Unaware of Approaching Merchant Ship Until Seconds Before Fatal Collision

USS Fitzgerald Combat Team Unaware of Approaching Merchant Ship Until Seconds Before Fatal Collision

USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) returns to Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating southwest of Yokosuka, Japan on June 17, 2017. US Navy Photo

WASHINGTON NAVY YARD – The sailors who were manning the combat nerve center of USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) did not know they were on a collision course with a ship almost three times their size until about one minute before impact, according to new information revealed in the preliminary hearing for two junior officers accused of negligent homicide for their role in the collision that resulted in the death of seven sailors. Read More

Former USS Fitzgerald Officer Pleads Guilty to Negligence Charge for Role in Collision

Former USS Fitzgerald Officer Pleads Guilty to Negligence Charge for Role in Collision

USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) sits in Dry Dock 4 at Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka on July 11, 2017. US Navy Photo

WASHINGTON NAVY YARD – Lt. j.g. Sarah B. Coppock was contrite and quiet when she pleaded guilty on a single criminal charge for her role in the collision between the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) and a merchant ship that killed seven sailors. Read More

Navy Reestablishes U.S. 2nd Fleet to Face Russian Threat; Plan Calls for 250 Person Command in Norfolk

Navy Reestablishes U.S. 2nd Fleet to Face Russian Threat; Plan Calls for 250 Person Command in Norfolk

USS Farragut (DDG-99) transits the Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 2018 in territory that will soon be overseen by a reestablished U.S. 2nd Fleet. US Navy Photo

This post has been updated with a statement from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and a Pentagon statement on a potential Joint NATO command in Norfolk.

Faced with a more active Russian fleet and increasing military competition across the world, the Navy has elected to reestablish U.S. 2nd Fleet to manage assets closer to the homeland, according to a memo announcing the command obtained by USNI News. Read More

Officer Accused of Negligence in Fitzgerald Collision Will Face Special Court-Martial Next Week as Part of Likely Plea Deal

Officer Accused of Negligence in Fitzgerald Collision Will Face Special Court-Martial Next Week as Part of Likely Plea Deal

USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) is loading onto the heavy lift transport vessel MV Transshelf. US Navy Photo

A junior officer accused of negligence in the fatal collision of USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) last summer will face a special court-martial next week on charges of dereliction of duty in a trial at Washington Navy Yard, the Navy announced this week. Based on the circumstances of the case, the trial is part of a likely plea deal that would involve the officer becoming a prosecution witness in courts-martial stemming from the same collision, two military defense lawyer told USNI News. Read More