A grieving mother from Maryland attended a U.S. Senate hearing on recent naval incidents, searching for answers about what led to the death of her son, Timothy Thomas Eckles Jr.
Eckles was one of 10 U.S. Navy crew members that died in the USS McCain’s collision with a merchant ship in the waters near Singapore and Malaysia on Aug. 21. He was an information systems technician 2nd Class petty officer.
The agenda of the hearing, according to the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services, was to receive testimonies on the two separate United States Navy collisions that occurred this summer: One involving the USS John McCain in August, and the other involving the USS Fitzgerald in June.
Seven crew members died in USS Fitzgerald's collision with a cargo ship off the coast of Japan.
Rachel Eckles and many other parents were in attendance to hear Navy Adm. John M. Richardson admit fatigue was a possible factor in the events, noting many sailors work upwards of 100 hours per week.
Delayed maintenance on ships, budget concerns, and training gaps may have also had an effect, Richardson said.
At the conclusion of the hearing, U.S. Sen. John McCain and Navy officials thanked the parents of the victims for their children's sacrifices and assured them that they would do everything in their power to prevent future collisions.