March 15, 2018
Navy spokesman Cmdr. William Speaks said about 85 percent of the Fitz’s crew was reassigned when the ship went stateside for repairs and upgrades.
Sailors who survived the warship Fitzgerald's June collision with a merchant vessel off Japan are suffering from post-traumatic stress when returning to sea, according to Cmdr. Sean Babbitt, the ship's executive officer at the time, shown here two days after the disaster that killed seven sailors. Babbitt took command and led the crew in its efforts to bring the Fitz back to port under her own power. (MC2 Richard L.J. Gourley/Navy)Many crew members of the destroyer Fitzgerald who survived the warship’s catastrophic collision with a merchant vessel last summer are experiencing post-traumatic stress after returning to sea, according to the ship’s former second-in-command.
Writing on the U.S. Naval Institute’s blog this week, former executive officer Cmdr. Sean Babbitt spoke of the lingering trauma the Fitz’s crew now face after fighting for survival and losing seven shipmates in June.
“While many of our sailors have returned to normal lives on board other ships, many have experienced relapses and manifestations of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) brought back by returning to sea,” Babbitt writes.
“I personally know of a number of sailors who served on board the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) who have held their hands up and said I need more help, and some of those sailors may never see a ship again.”
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