On Monday, August 21, the Navy reported that the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with a Liberian-flagged oil tanker off the coast of Singapore in a busy shipping lane. The damage to the USS McCain was extensive, and at the waterline, but tugboats were able to pull the ship to Changi Naval Base. There it was met by the USS America, which launched a search-and-rescue operation for 10 sailors who went missing in the crash. On Thursday morning, the Navy called off the search and identified the 10 missing sailors.
Two of the sailors, both Electronics Technicians 3rd Class, were identified by the Navy as having been killed. The Navy reported that divers were able to recover the sailors’ remains, but the other eight sailors are still classified as missing.
While the Navy has officially suspended its search-and-rescue operations, it said Thursday that Navy and Marine Corps divers will continue to search the flooded compartments on the USS McCain for the other sailors.
“After more than 80 hours of multinational search efforts, the U.S. Navy suspended search-and-rescue efforts for missing USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) Sailors,” a statement from the Navy read. “The incident is under investigation to determine the facts and circumstances of the collision.”
The two sailors killed in the USS John S. McCain crash are:
- Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from New Jersey
- Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, from Connecticut
The eight sailors still missing are:
- Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley, 31, from Missouri
- Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Abraham Lopez, 39, from Texas
- Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, from Maryland
- Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, from Ohio
- Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, from Maryland
- Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram, 28, from New York
- Electronics Technician 3rd Class John Henry Hoagland III, 20, from Texas
- Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, from Illinois
“My thoughts and prayers are with the sailors and families of the USS John McCain,” said James Mattis, Secretary of Defense. “We obviously have an investigation underway, and that will determine what happened.”
While it is still unclear what caused the fatal collision between the destroyer and the oil tanker, what is clear is that the Navy is taking the matter very seriously. The collision of the USS McCain this week comes just after a fatal collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a merchant ship in June that claimed the lives of seven sailors.
Both naval destroyers were part of the 7th Fleet, and earlier this week the Navy Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, commander of the 7th Fleet, was relieved of duty. The Navy said in a statement that Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, dismissed the three-star admiral “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.”
The Navy and Marine divers continue to search the flooded compartments of the USS John S. McCain for the remains of the other eight sailors.
The White House on Tuesday issued a statement, saying, “It is with great sadness that we learned today of the United States sailor fatalities following the August 21st collision between the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain and a merchant vessel, which occurred east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. As the Navy begins the process of recovering our fallen sailors, our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and friends.”
The Veterans Site joins with the Navy and the nation in mourning the loss of these sailors, fallen and missing.
Fair winds and following seas, Sailors.Whizzco