Unsealed Warrant Reveals Identity of Sailor Accused of Setting the USS Bonhomme Warship on Fire

A newly unsealed search warrant has identified Ryan Sawyer Mays as the sailor accused of starting the massive fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard warship on July 12, 2020.

The search warrant filed in court by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service on Aug. 3 revealed suspicious details about 20-year-old sailor Mays and the evidence that led to his arrest.

According to the warrant, investigators found uncapped plastic bottles containing small amounts of highly flammable liquid near the origin of the fire, which were then set aside as evidence. However, when they returned the following day, one of the bottles was gone and the marking tape had been discarded on the floor.

The warrant noted that during the time the bottle went missing, Mays’ duty section had access to the area.

Several sailors also reported seeing Mays in the area before the fire, according to the warrant.

The warrant also included a photo of Mays that he uploaded on Instagram with the caption, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

Napalm is a highly flammable substance used to create bombs and flamethrowers.

The warrant further cited a Navy commander who noticed that three fire stations on the ship “appeared to have been purposely tampered with.”

The warrant further alleges that Mays “showed disdain towards authority and the US Navy.”

Mays enlisted in 2019 and later joined a training course for Navy Seals. However, he dropped out five days later and was reassigned to the USS Bonhomme Richard.

The warrant noted that sailors who drop out of the Seal training and find themselves in more traditional roles on a Navy ship “frequently” have “very challenging” morale and behavior, according to Navy leadership.

Mays has denied any wrongdoing and suggested that he was being set up.


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