Charges to be Dropped in 2017 U.S.S. Fitzgerald Collision, Valley Native Killed
WESLACO – The U.S. Navy announces plans to drop charges against leadership from deadly collision that killed seven sailors.
Gunner's mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez of Weslaco was one of the sailors killed.
The U.S.S. Fitzgerald, a guided missile destroyer, collided with a cargo ship off the coast of Japan on June 17, 2017.
Officials said the U.S. Navy failed to take action minutes before the collision.
Several charges, including negligent homicide, were filed against an ex-commander, two lieutenants and one lieutenant junior grade in 2018.
The Navy says the accused officers will instead only receive non-judicial punishment.
Along with the continuation of a job dismissal, they won't be allowed to return to the ship.
In a press release, the Navy states, "This decision is in the best interest of the Navy, the families of the Fitzgerald sailors, and the procedural rights of the accused officers."
Officials also said additional training and preparedness plans are still underway to help prevent future crashes.
Hernandez's name was added last year to a monument that holds the names of fallen heroes from Weslaco.
The monument is up at Mayor Pablo Peña Park off South Airport Blvd.