Navy ends search for missing McCain sailors, releases identities


The following is the text of a news report from the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI):

(WASHINGTON) — The Navy released the identities of the one dead and nine missing sailors Thursday morning after calling off an international search after the Aug. 21 collision between the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and a merchant ship.

Navy divers recovered the remains of Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from Cherry Hill, N.J.

The Malaysian navy found a body while assisting in the search effort on Tuesday, but U.S. 7th Fleet announced Thursday morning that a medical evaluation determined the body is not one of its missing sailors.

The search was called off after 80 hours of searching a 2,100-square-mile area near the Strait of Malacca near Singapore. Ships and aircraft from the Republic of Singapore Navy, Singapore Air Force, Singapore Maritime Port Authority, Singapore Police Coast Guard, Royal Malaysian Navy, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Indonesian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force participated in the search, which was expanded yesterday.

Pierside in Singapore, more divers from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit have joined the search effort in the interior of the ship to look for remains in the two berthing areas that flooded when a chemical tanker hit the guided-missile destroyer on Monday.

A Navy official told USNI News this week that the nature of the damage following the collision has made searching the interior of McCain difficult.

Four sailors who were injured in the collision between McCain and the chemical tanker Alnic MC have been released from the hospital and have returned to 7th Fleet, the Navy announced.

Meanwhile, the Navy has started an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collision. The service is also starting a Fleet Forces-led investigation into Navy operations in the western Pacific. On Wednesday, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift removed former 7th Fleet head Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin from his command due to a loss of confidence in his leadership.

The sailors still missing are Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram, 28, from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Electronics Technician 3rd Class John Henry Hoagland III, 20, from Killeen, Texas; Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley, 31, from Amazonia, Mo.; Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Abraham Lopez, 39, from El Paso, Texas; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, from Gaithersburg, Md.; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, from Cable, Ohio; Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckles, Jr, 23, from Manchester, Md.; Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, from Suffield, Conn.; and Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, from Decatur, Ill.

By Professional Mariner Staff