Seaman Apprentice Charged for USS Richard Bonhomme Fire

Faye Higbee
seaman apprentice

Charges have been preferred against a US Navy Seaman Apprentice for aggravated arson and hazarding of a vessel or aircraft under Articles 126 and 110 of the UCMJ. The charges stem from the fire aboard the USS Richard Bonhomme in July of 2020 that ultimately caused the ship to be scuttled after four days of the inferno. The date for the Article 32 hearing has not been set.

Update: The suspect has been identified as Seaman Apprentice Ryan Sawyer Mays. He states he was “”set up” according to the Navy Times.

Story continues below:



The Seaman Apprentice was a crew member on the USS Richard Bonhomme. The blaze started on July 12, 2020 as the ship was docked in San Diego. Through 4 days of fire, 60 fire and military personnel injured, the Navy felt the damage from the fire was too extensive to be repaired.

Naval officials have not released the name of the Seaman Apprentice until the convening authority reviews the charges for probable cause.

The charges “were brought forth against a Navy Sailor in response to evidence found during the criminal investigation into the fire” that began July 12, 2020, while the amphibious assault ship was docked in San Diego, according to a statement by Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a spokesman for the Navy’s 3rd Fleet…

“Evidence collected during the investigation is sufficient to direct a preliminary hearing in accordance with due process under the military justice system,” Robertson said in the statement.

Vice Adm. Steve Koehler, the commander of 3rd Fleet, is considering court-martial charges, he said.

Koehler has ordered a preliminary hearing headed by an impartial hearing officer who will make determinations and recommendations, including “whether or not there is probable cause to believe an offense has been committed,” he said.


The USS Richard Bonhomme was undergoing maintenance at the time, as we previously reported.

Several investigations into the blaze have not been made public, but it was known that a person was being investigated at one point. The request for evidence preservation was issued early on in the investigation.


Featured screenshot via Military Times

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