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Navy Ends Search for Missing Sailor from USS Nimitz

Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Ian McKnight. Photo via US Navy

The Navy has concluded the search for the sailor who has been missing and presumed to have gone overboard on Sunday, U.S. 5th Fleet announced on Tuesday afternoon.

Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Ian McKnight, 29, is presumed to have gone overboard on Sunday from USS Nimitz (CVN-68), which was operating in the North Arabian Sea.

“Following a thorough search of the ship and man overboard alert Sept. 6, Nimitz, guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton and aircraft from the U.S. Navy and Air Force conducted search and rescue operations in the North Arabian Sea where it was reported that McKnight was missing,” reads a statement from 5th Fleet.
“The search and rescue operations were concluded on Sept. 8, after extensive attempts to locate McKnight.”

McKnight is still listed as duty status whereabouts unknown (DUSTWUN) and his next of kin has been notified, the Navy said. The incident is under investigation.

“We are deeply saddened as we call off the search for IT2 Ian McKnight,” Nimitz commander Capt. Max Clark said in a statement. “We hold his family and friends in our hearts during this difficult time.”

McKnight, originally from North Carolina, enlisted in the Navy in 2018 and had served aboard the carrier since 2019, according to Navy records. He was promoted to E-5 in early August.

Nimitz has been operating just outside the Persian Gulf since late July as part of a deployment that began on June 8 from San Diego, Calif. The bulk of the 8,000 sailors of the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and Carrier Air Wing 17 have been in an isolation period since early April to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 on the carrier.

USS Nimitz (CVN-68) steams in the Indian Ocean during a cooperative deployment with the Indian Navy July 20, 2020. US Navy Photo

The following is the complete statement from U.S. 5th Fleet.

U.S. Navy Ends Search for Missing USS Nimitz Sailor in North Arabian Sea

From U.S. 5th Fleet
ARABIAN SEA (Sept. 8, 2020) – The U.S. Navy has ended search and rescue efforts for Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Ian McKnight, assigned to USS Nimitz (CVN 68), who is believed to have gone overboard Sept. 6.

Following a thorough search of the ship and man overboard alert Sept. 6, Nimitz, guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton and aircraft from the U.S. Navy and Air Force conducted search and rescue operations in the North Arabian Sea where it was reported that McKnight was missing.

The search and rescue operations were concluded on Sept. 8, after extensive attempts to locate McKnight.

“We are deeply saddened as we call off the search for IT2 Ian McKnight,” said Capt. Max Clark, commanding officer of USS Nimitz. “We hold his family and friends in our hearts during this difficult time.”

McKnight remains listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN). Next of kin notification of McKnight’s DUSTWUN status has been completed.

“The strike group team sends our thoughts and prayers to the family of Petty Officer McKnight,” said Rear Admiral Jim Kirk, commander, Carrier Strike Group 11. “And I offer my thanks to all the Sailors and Airmen who were involved in the search for our shipmate.”

The incident remains under investigation.

Nimitz is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 11 and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the Western Indian Ocean and three critical chokepoints to the free flow of global commerce.

Categories: Military Personnel, News & Analysis, 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.