Coast Guard Punishes Cutter Healy Leaders For Crewmembers Deaths

The three top officers assigned to the Coast Guard cutter Healy in August 2006 faced admiral’s mast Thursday for their leadership — or lack thereof — during a fatal exercise that killed two divers.

Vice Adm. Charles Wurster, Pacific Area commander, found Healy’s commanding officer, executive officer and operations officer to be derelict of duty under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Capt. Douglas Russell, who was relieved Aug. 30, 2006 by Wurster for his lack of confidence in Russell’s ability to command, received a punitive letter of reprimand and forfeiture of the equivalent of one month’s pay.

Executive officer Cmdr. Jeffrey Jackson received a punitive letter of admonition.

The operations officer, whom the Coast Guard declined to name but has been verified by Navy Times as Lt. Cmdr. James Dalitsch, received a punitive letter of reprimand and forfeiture of the equivalent of a half-month’s pay.

The sentences of forfeitures were suspended for both who received them.

In general terms, Jackson received a lighter form of non-judicial punishment than Russell or Dalitsch.

Source: Navy Times Article

A news briefing concerning the Coast Guard investigation of the incident will be held later today by the Coast Guard in Seattle.

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