U.S. Navy Sailor Charged in Fire that Destroyed Warship USS Bonhomme Richard

by Jon D. B.

The culprit behind the horrible 4-day fire that took place aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard last year has been charged – identified as a U.S. Navy sailor.

While the sailor is not identified by name, his prosecution brings justice for the arson that injured more than 60 people – and destroyed the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard.

The sailor’s charges were brought Thursday, July 29, 2021. His charges come under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Now, he could face court martial, says spokesman for the U.S. 3rd Fleet and Navy Commander Sean Robertson, per a statement.

“The Sailor was a member of Bonhomme Richard’s crew at the time and is accused of starting the fire,” Robertson says via Reuters Friday.

The U.S. Navy does not, however, state whether the sailor “intentionally” set the blaze.

“BILLION-DOLLAR ARSON: Navy charges sailor in connection with massive fire that destroyed warship,” FOX NEWS posts of the arson on Instagram Friday. The photo within shows the plumes of smoke resulting from the sailor’s heinous act. The fire broke out on July 12, 2020, in the lower cargo hold of the Bonhomme Richard.

Thankfully, no casualties would result from the raging fires. 60 individuals, however – around 40 of which are sailors – would see treatment for injuries and burns. The arson’s fire would lead to four straight days of battling the flames aboard the 844-foot warship.

The USS Bonhomme Richard was docked for maintenance within U.S. Naval Base San Diego, it’s home port.

USS Bonhomme Richard ‘Superstructure Collapsed and Melted’ from Arson

“The U.S. Navy said it charged a sailor with starting a fire last year that destroyed a warship docked off San Diego. The USS Bonhomme Richard burned for more than four days and was the Navy’s worst U.S. warship fire outside of combat in recent memory,” confirms the Associated Press with another smoke-filled photo.

According to Reuters, the Bonhomme Richard “sustained severe damage, leaving it listing to the starboard side.”

As a result, “its superstructure collapsed and melted.”

The warship ranks second in size amongst the U.S. Navy fleet to aircraft carriers. Thankfully, the ships’ repair status at the time of the fire meant ammunitions were not present. This prevented what could have been catastrophic explosions for the ship and U.S. Naval Base San Diego. Repair status also meant that only around 160 crew members were aboard.

The U.S. Navy has been investigating the fire as a potential arson since last August. Then, in November 2020, officials were forced to decommission the Bonhomme Richard. The decision came after the navy’s announcement that repairs would take “years” and “cost more than $3 billion” in taxpayer money.

The ship was commissioned in 1998, and had served since. It’s purpose was to “carry U.S. Marine Corps attack helicopters and ground troops into battle,” Reuters states.