Hearing to study fatal Navy ship crashes

The USS Fitzgerald and McCain mishaps are under scrutiny.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Getting to the bottom of what went wrong: on Thursday, a House panel will ask the tough questions about the USS Fitzgerald and USS McCain crashes that killed 17 sailors.

"The Navy's going to have to take action on holding leaders accountable, determining where there might've been or where there was a breakdown in decision-making or communications on board the ships," said Rep. Rob Wittman, (R-Virginia, 1st District), chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittees on Seapower and Projection Forces and Readiness.

Loading ...

Congressmen will be questioning the Vice Chief of Naval operations, Vice Admiral Bill Moran.

Wittman says one thing his panel will look at is what impact 16 straight years of combat operations has had on crew readiness.

"Yes, I think all those things contribute to it," he said. "Operational tempo is certainly, I think, one of those contributory factors."

And Wittman says lawmakers will go wherever the facts lead them.

"Ours is going to be, what elements within the Navy itself have contributed to these collisions, and additionally, what are the things that Congress needs to do to assure that these things don't happen again," he said.

This isn't the only investigation. Fleet Forces Command Admiral Phil Davidson has been assigned by the Chief of Naval Operations to complete his review within 60 days.