WASHINGTON — The captain of the battleship Iowa said today that he inherited command of a battleship fraught with problems, but that he could not endorse the singling out of a troubled gunner's mate for setting off the explosion that killed 47 crewmen last spring.
Capt. Fred P. Moosally also told the Senate Armed Services Committee that allegations of poor training and lack of qualifications leveled against his crew immediately after the explosion April 19 were unwarranted.
He said he had no information to dispute the Navy's conclusion that the blast was "a wrongful, intentional act." But he said he could not conclude that a single individual was responsible.
The Navy concluded that a depressed Gunner's Mate Clayton Hartwig "most likely" caused the explosion by inserting some type of detonator between bags of gunpowder in one of the ship's 16-inch guns. Navy officials acknowledged their evidence was circumstantial because all the witnesses, including Hartwig, were killed in the blast.
"I don't think I could definitely say an individual did it," Moosally said today.