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U.S., Japanese Warships Search South China Sea for Sailor Missing from USS Stethem

USS Stethem (DDG-63) on March 22, 2017. US Navy

A sailor assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG63) is missing in the South China Sea, Navy officials confirmed to USNI News on Tuesday.

The sailor was reported missing from the ship at about 9 A.M. local time on Tuesday – about 9 P.M. EST, according to a statement from U.S. 7th Fleet.

Stethem reported a man overboard at about 9 a.m. local. Multiple searches of the ship were conducted, but were unable to locate the sailor,” read the statement.
“USS Stethem along with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ships JS Izumo and JS Sazanami are searching the area along with helicopters from Izumo. The Joint Personnel Recovery Center Hawaii is assisting with this search.”

The Navy is withholding the name of the sailor while the search is ongoing.

Defense News first reported the missing sailor.
Stethem is part of the U.S. Navy’s forward deployed naval forces in the Western Pacific and early last month conducted a Freedom of Navigation Operation past disputed Chinese controlled holdings in the South China Sea.

In June, a sailor hiding on USS Shiloh (CG-67) prompted a search by JMSDF assets, U.S. Navy and Japan Coast Guard. The sailor was later found hiding on the ship.

The following is the complete statement from U.S. 7th fleet.

SOUTH CHINA SEA (NNS) — U.S. Navy and Japanese ships and aircraft are searching for a Sailor from USS Stethem (DDG 63) reported missing while the ship was conducting routine operations in the South China Sea, Aug. 1.

Stethem reported a man overboard at about 9 a.m. local. Multiple searches of the ship were conducted, but were unable to locate the Sailor.

USS Stethem along with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ships JS Izumo and JS Sazanami are searching the area along with helicopters from Izumo. The Joint Personnel Recovery Center Hawaii is assisting with this search.

The Sailor’s name is being withheld while the search is ongoing.

Categories: Education Legislation, News & Analysis, Surface Forces, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.