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Statement of Congressman Rob Wittman on the USS Bonhomme Richard Fire Investigation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) responded to the Navy’s recent accident investigation into the July 2020 USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) fire.

The July 2020 fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) ultimately led to a multi-billion dollar loss and the destruction of the critical warship. Although started by an act of arson, the results of this investigation found that the losses incurred from a lack of response and routine maintenance were entirely avoidable. In response to the findings in this report, Congressman Wittman stated: 

“The major fire aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard needn’t have been a major loss. Our sailors are trained to combat fires with a sense of urgency, and regrettably, this sense of urgency was not present in the early hours of the blaze. Couple this with negligent attitudes towards cleaning, preservation, and stowage, degraded operability of core fire-fighting systems, and insufficient resources, and you lose the ship. This was a $3.5B loss, one that came as the Navy faces competing pressures from a resurgent China and a restrictive budget. This isn’t just one step backwards - this is a faceplant. For every deckplate leader, let this be a wake-up call: those seemingly mundane tasks come from lessons learned in sweat and blood. To have to relearn this lesson is unacceptable.”

Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.