30 US Sailors, Marines Injured in Training Mishap off Florida Coast

Thirty sailors and Marines were injured during a training exercise off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, involving two Navy landing craft. Five sailors were hospitalized, with one remaining under medical care, and an investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the incident.

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Hadeel Hashem
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30 US Sailors, Marines Injured in Training Mishap off Florida Coast

30 US Sailors, Marines Injured in Training Mishap off Florida Coast

A training exercise involving two Navy landing craft off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, on Wednesday evening, resulted in injuries to 30 sailors and Marines. The incident occurred when the air-cushioned vessels, assigned to the USS Wasp and USS New York, were conducting routine operations as part of a pre-deployment workup for an upcoming overseas mission.

Why this matters: This incident highlights the risks and challenges faced by the US military in maintaining its readiness and capabilities, particularly in the context of amphibious operations. The incident also underscores the need for continued investment in safety protocols and oversight to prevent such mishaps and ensure the well-being of service members.

Five sailors were medically evacuated to Savannah Memorial University Medical Center in Georgia for further treatment. Four of those hospitalized have since been released, while one remains under medical care and is being assessed. The other injured service members, suffering minor injuries, were treated aboard the Wasp and New York.

The mishap involved two Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs), 91-foot hovercraft-style vessels used to transport troops, vehicles, and cargo from ship to shore. The LCACs, which can carry up to 180 tons, are a critical component of the Marine Corps' amphibious capabilities, enabling rapid movement in coastal areas and on the beach.

The Wasp Amphibious Ready Group, based in Norfolk, Virginia, was conducting a training exercise with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in preparation for an anticipated overseas deployment. These pre-deployment workups are designed to integrate the Navy-Marine Corps team and ensure readiness for a range of missions, from humanitarian assistance to full-scale combat operations.

The incident comes at a challenging time for the Navy's amphibious fleet, which has faced maintenance backlogs and readiness concerns. Just days ago, the USS Boxer, another amphibious assault ship, was forced to return to port in San Diego because of steering issues that required major repairs. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Lisa Franchetti recently hinted that the Wasp's deployment might be delayed while the service confronts these readiness challenges.

The Navy has launched an investigation into the incident to determine the cause and any necessary corrective actions. "The safety of our Marines and sailors is our top priority," said a U.S. 2nd Fleet spokesperson. "We will conduct a thorough investigation to identify the factors that led to this mishap and ensure we take all appropriate steps to prevent it from happening again."

Amphibious operations, which involve close coordination between the Navy and Marine Corps, are inherently complex and often hazardous. Training exercises are designed to mitigate risks, but accidents can still occur. In recent years, the Navy has emphasized improved safety protocols and oversight to reduce the frequency and severity of mishaps.

The recovery process continues, and the investigation unfolds, the Navy remains focused on supporting the injured service members and their families. The incident serves as a sobering illustration of the risks faced by U.S. sailors and Marines as they train and prepare to defend the nation's interests around the world. sailors and Marines as they train and prepare to defend the nation's interests around the world.

Key Takeaways

  • 30 sailors and Marines were injured in a training exercise off the Florida coast.
  • The incident involved 2 Navy landing craft, part of USS Wasp and USS New York.
  • 5 sailors were hospitalized, 1 remains under medical care, and others were treated on ships.
  • The Navy launches an investigation into the cause of the incident, prioritizing safety.
  • The incident highlights challenges in maintaining military readiness and capabilities.