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Navy Secretary holds ‘all-hands’ meeting in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO -- Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer visited Naval Base San Diego Tuesday and held an "all hands" meeting with area sailors and toured the recently commissioned littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords.

Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer visits San Diego on August 29, 2017.

The visit, his first while in office, comes after a pair of deadly collisions involving U.S. destroyers. The latest collision, involving the USS John S. McCain and a tanker, resulted 10 deaths.

In June, seven sailors aboard the USS Fitzgerald died after a collision with another ship. Two of the victims were from the San Diego region.

Both destroyers are based in Japan.

In a similar visit to Naval Station Mayport in Florida last week, Spencer told sailors the collisions were "a tragedy" and "totally unacceptable," according to news reports.

He said the "extraordinary" tempo of operations lately may have contributed to the collisions, but he said he planned to wait until investigations are complete to decide whether to make changes. The Navy ordered a comprehensive review of the incidents and surface fleet operations.

Spencer is scheduled to visit with Marines at Camp Pendleton on Wednesday.

Sworn in on Aug. 3, Spencer is a Marine veteran who spent five years as a helicopter pilot. Most recently, he worked for a management consulting firm in Wyoming.

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