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Vermont's connection to Navy ship involved in deadly collision - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont's connection to Navy ship involved in deadly collision

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

We're learning more about the Vermont connection to the Navy ship involved in that deadly collision over the weekend.

The USS Fitzgerald was hit by a cargo ship early Sunday near Japan. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the collision.

The USS Fitzgerald was commissioned in 1995. It was named for Lt. William Charles Fitzgerald, a Navy officer who was born in Montpelier in 1938. According to Navy reports, he graduated from Montpelier High School in 1956 and followed in his father's footsteps by joining the Navy. He died fighting off the Viet Cong in 1967. He was 29. While under attack, Fitzgerald ordered his men to leave and covered them while they escaped. The Vermont native received one of the Navy's highest honors, the Navy Cross and ultimately had the ship named after him.

Fitzgerald's widow, Betty, says she is still in touch with the first commander of the USS Fitzgerald and has been visited by the last five commanders. She knows the ship's current captain, Cmdr. Bryce Benson.

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