USS MCFAUL (DDG 74) and USS WINSTON S. CHURCHILL (DDG 81), Collision, 22 August 2005

Destroyer Mishap Under Investigation

Norfolk Naval Station, Va. – Navy investigators are trying to find out why two destroyers collided Aug. 22 during a training exercise 83 miles off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla.

No one was injured during the 1:30 p.m. incident, in which the starboard bow of the McFaul came into contact with the port side helicopter hangar on the Winston S. Churchill.

2nd Fleet spokesman Comdr. Conrad Chun said he could not provide details on how the two ships collided or whether any other ships were in the vicinity; Chun said he had only an incomplete account of the mishap and that the inquiry, being led by Capt. Gregory S. Cruze of Destroyer Squadron 2, was continuing.

At the time of the collision, the two ships were taking part in a pre-deployment training exercise with the Nassau Expeditionary Strike Group. The Churchill is a member of that group, while the McFaul was playing the war game role of an enemy ship, Chun said.

The ships returned to their home port of Norfolk Naval Station on Aug. 24. A roughly 6 foot long hole was punched in McFaul’s bow on its starboard side, beginning just above the secured bow anchor. Damage to the Churchill was covered with a tarp and couldn’t be seen from the pier. The cost of repairs and where the work would be done were still to be determined, Chun said.


What Happened

The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers Churchill and McFaul collided Aug. 22 while training off the coast of Florida. The training required aggressive ship-handling and high speed, close quarters tactical maneuvering.


1. 1:28 p.m.: The Winston S. Churchill turned left 10 degrees with less than 500 yards between the two ships. Diagram showing Churchill turning left, into the path of McFaul
2. 1:28:30 p.m.: The McFaul is less than 200 yards from the Churchill. The McFaul orders all engines back full. Diagram showing Churchill directly in McFaul's path
3. 1:28:45 p.m.: Impact. Both ships were lightly damaged. There was no loss of life or flooding on either ship. Diagram showing impact

Image source: The U.S. Navy