TOKYO—President Donald Trump has ordered that the crew of the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) to scuttle the ship. The order, relayed through acting Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, sent shock waves through the Navy. When carried out, it will be the first active U.S. Navy vessel scuttled since World War II.
“I like ships that don't get hit by freighters" Mr. Trump told Vice Adm. Phillip G. Sawyer, commander of Seventh Fleet. "You know, 354 ships should be good. I don’t know why everyone is talking about 355 ships. They'll be the best ships, anyway believe me.”
Unable to take the ship out to sea and scuttle it on such short notice, the McCain’s captain, Cdr. Micah Murphy, ordered the ship hidden from Mr. Trump during his visit. Murphy ordered the crew to place a large tarp covering the name on the stern, hoping that the Commander-in-Chief would not notice the presence of the 500-foot long vessel moored to the pier.
"If that doesn't work, then maybe repaint the name to ‘Mohn J. ScCain,’’ Murphy reportedly told his crew. "Or maybe 'Ohnjay cCainMay.’”
Trump told reporters, “I wouldn’t have crashed the ship if I was captain. I would have been a very good admiral, a very stable captain.”
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson is reportedly trying to save the ship without the president’s knowledge. He directed sailors to paint over the stern plate in the meantime. “We should have thought about this when it was in drydock last year,” Richardson reportedly told IndoPacCom Commander Adm. Phil Davidson. “I knew the president had a personal grievance against one of the ship's namesakes, but I didn’t think he’d order us to sink a perfectly good ship."
"You know what?" Richardson asked. "Fuck it. I'm about to retire. Save the ship. We’ll just cross the name out and call it the USS Trump for now.”