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Court-Martial Ordered in Loss of Navy Ship

Bonhomme Richard burned for 5 days in San Diego Harbor
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 25, 2022 2:00 PM CST
Court-Martial Ordered in Loss of Navy Ship
Navy Seaman Ryan Sawyer Mays, center, arrives for a hearing at Naval Base San Diego in December.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

A sailor accused of starting the fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard will face a court-martial for arson, according to charges filed Friday. Ryan Mays faces two counts in military court for the July 2020 blaze that injured dozens of personnel aboard the amphibious assault ship as the fire burned for five days in San Diego Harbor and sent acrid smoke wafting over the city. It marked one of the worst noncombat warship disasters in recent memory, the AP reports, and the vessel had to be scrapped.

Navy prosecutors said at a December hearing that Mays set the fire because he was disgruntled after dropping out of Navy SEAL training. His defense lawyers said there was no physical evidence connecting him to the blaze. Mays was charged with aggravated arson and the willful hazarding of a vessel. A lawyer for Mays did not immediately return a message seeking comment. (The Navy had estimated the replacement cost of the ship at $4 billion.)

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