Admiral Scott Swift, US Navy photo

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) — Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, today relieved the commander of Seventh Fleet, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.

Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin (Photo by File photo)

Rear Adm. Phil Sawyer, who has already been nominated and confirmed for the position and promotion to vice admiral, will assume command immediately.

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The Navy said the bodies of US sailors are being recovered after the destroyer John S. McCain collided with a Liberian registered tanker….

The Navy says the search for missing Sailors assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) is ongoing in the South China Sea and within the ship itself.

On Aug. 22, Adm. Scott Swift announced that the remains of a number of the 10 missing John S. McCain Sailors were discovered within the ship.

On Aug. 23, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps divers continue to search the ship, seeking to locate more of the missing Sailors. In addition, they are conducting inspections of the damage to inform repair plans. More divers will join the effort Aug. 24.

At sea, search efforts are focused on an area east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore where John S. McCain was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC Aug. 21. The area centers around the point of collision, and is expanding to encompass a greater area as time goes on, the Navy explained.

On Aug. 22, the Royal Malaysian Navy discovered the potential remains of a missing Sailor while searching the area. The remains were transferred to the U.S. Navy where efforts are underway to determine identification.

Both the RMN and the Republic of Singapore Navy continue to assist the U.S. Navy in the search. Those efforts Aug. 23, involved RSN ships Gallant and Fearless, RMN ship Leiku and two SH-60S helicopters from USS America (LHA 6).

The incident will be investigated to determine the facts and circumstances of the collision, the Navy said. 

 

During Exercise Talisman Saber, an audience member at the Australian National University asked Swift if he would carry out any order from President Donald Trump to launch a nuclear strike on China. Swift replied yes.