Sailor accused of torching USS Bonhomme Richard will go to court-martial, Navy decides

Seaman Recruit Ryan Sawyer Mays will go to court-martial over the recommendations of the officer who presided over his preliminary hearing. Vice Admiral Steve Koehler overrode her recommendation and has referred the case for court-martial.

I would note that at some point, Mays was evidently administratively reduced in grade from Seaman (E-3) to Seaman Recruit (E-1).

The charges are aggravated arson and willful hazarding of a vessel, both of which carry a potential sentence of life in prison. I would note that in wartime, willful hazarding of a vessel would carry the death sentence.

However, I don’t think that a conviction is at all certain in this case. There was enough doubt that a knowledgeable and experienced legal office recommended not going to trial.

Not at all out of the question that he could beat the rap. If he does, he will likely be administratively separated from the service.

I would note that a ■■■■ load of Navy officers careers are over because of this fiasco.

As for LHD-6 (ex-Bonhomme Richard), the hulk is currently being broken up in Brownsville, Texas and scrapping his expected to be completed by the summer.

It is astonishing to me that one man ■■■■■■ up our entire naval plan for the future.

Perhaps more astonishing is that this is the SECOND time something like this has happened. The USS Miami (SSN-755) was destroyed by arson, by a worker who wanted to go home.

…or an entire country…amirite? :sunglasses: :tumbler_glass:

They say the same thing about deserters. We haven’t killed a single one out of thousands in this century.

Not this century, but The Execution of Private Slovik is a really good movie. I highly recommend it

And likely never again. “Punishable by death” is a joke.

Interestingly, the United States has conducted very few executions over its history for purely military crimes as opposed to non-military crimes committed by service members.

Creek War (1814) - one soldier executed for assaulting as superior officer

Civil War - one soldier executed for desertion (note that I am not counting the execution of Confederate soldiers for activities such as spying, guerilla warfare, war crimes) as they were essentially enemy combatants.

First World War - No executions for military crimes (35 for rape and murder)

Second World War through abolition of military death penalty in 1961 - Private Eddie Slovak (159 others for rape, murder, etc.)

Here are the four current occupants of Military death row, all for non-military offenses:

Sentenced person Date of sentencing Crime

Ronald A. Gray 12 April 1988 Two specifications of both rape (U.C.M.J. Article 120) and premeditated murder (U.C.M.J. Article 118(1))

Hasan Karim Akbar 28 April 2005 Two specifications of premeditated murder (U.C.M.J. Article 118(1))

Timothy B. Hennis 15 April 2010 Three specifications of premeditated murder (U.C.M.J. Article 118(1)), one specification of rape (U.C.M.J. Article 120)

Nidal Malik Hasan 28 August 2013 Thirteen specifications of premeditated murder (U.C.M.J. Article 118(1))

So we have never really ever been prone to executions for military offenses throughout our history.

The Navy executed 5 sailors for mutiny during the 1840’s.


Seaman Mays has been acquitted of all charges.

What was the basis for the charges?

The vice admiral in command was butt hurt, ignored the recommendation of the Article 32 officer and charged him anyway.

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Ok, still doesn’t answer why this specific Sailor was even looked at. Why was he even a suspect is why I ask.

A shipmate said he saw him near where the fire started just before it started.

Thats IT???

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Yep. The Article 32 JAG officer clearly believed that there was no way they had enough to convict which was borne out by the verdict.

This whole episode is the Navy covering their ass.

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Sounds like some Officer was somehow responsible for an ACCIDENTAL fire and instead of admitting it was accidental they wanted to pin it on some lower enlisted Sailor.