Vice Adm. Scott A. Stearney, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/ U.S. 5th Fleet, was found dead in his quarters in Bahrain on Saturday, according to a statement from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.
“Team, it’s my sad duty to inform you that today the Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer and I were told that Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, our commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet, was found deceased in his residence in Bahrain today. This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at 5th Fleet, and for the entire U.S. Navy”, said Adm. Richardson in the statement released on Dec. 1.
According to the U.S. Navy, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are cooperating on the investigation, but at this time no foul play is suspected. The Navy added that Rear Adm. Paul Schlise, the deputy commander of 5th Fleet, has assumed command of the fleet and is maintaining continuity in its responsibilities and posture in the U.S. 5th Fleet.
“I ask that you keep the Stearney family in your prayers and respect their privacy as they navigate through these very difficult times. We will keep you informed as we learn more. Thank you very much”, Adm. Richardson added.
Vice Adm. Stearney took over as the Commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT)/ U.S. 5th Fleet (C5F)/Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) from Vice Adm. John C. Aquilino in May this year.
Vice Adm. Scott Stearney is a native of Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Economics prior to commissioning in the U.S. Navy in October 1982. He subsequently entered flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in April 1984. Stearney graduated from Navy Fighter Weapons School and holds a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University.
Operationally, he served in numerous strike fighter squadrons flying the F/A-18 Hornet. His fleet assignments include the Golden Warriors of Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-87, the Knighthawks of Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-136 and strike warfare officer for commander, Carrier Group 4. Stearney commanded the Wildcats of VFA-131 and Carrier Air Wing Seven embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. He served in Kabul, Afghanistan, as chief of staff of Joint Task Force 435 and later Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435.
Ashore, Stearney served as instructor and readiness officer at Navy Fighter Weapons School, aide de camp to the chief of naval operations, deputy director J6 U.S. Joint Forces Command, executive assistant to deputy commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command and chief of staff, Strike Force Training Atlantic.
His flag assignments include commander, U.S. Transportation Command’s Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic, commander, Carrier Strike Group 4, commander, Navy Warfare Development Command, and director of operations, U.S. Central Command.
He was entitled to wear the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal, as well as other commendations and awards. He has accumulated more than 4,500 mishap free flight hours and over 1,000 carrier-arrested landings.