Washington, DC - At the recommendation of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer will issue a Secretarial Letter of Censure to USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) former commanding officer Cmdr. Bryce Benson and former crew member Lt. Natalie Combs.

This decision is in the best interest of the Navy, the families of the Fitzgerald Sailors, and the procedural rights of the accused officers.  Both officers were previously dismissed from their jobs and received non-judicial punishment.

The comprehensive program to improve Navy readiness and training, to do everything possible to ensure that accidents like this will not recur, remains on track.   The Navy continues to strive to achieve and maintain a climate of operational excellence.

Richardson will also withdraw and dismiss charges in the general courts-martial against the two officers.

The Navy will always keep the lost Sailors and their families in its thoughts and prayers.