U.S. Navy Essex ARG, USMC 13th MEU Conclude at-Sea Search for Missing Marine Reported Overboard Off Philippine Coast

The U.S. Navy Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the Marine Corps 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) concluded their search and rescue operation for a missing Marine, on Aug. 13, after a deliberate, five-day operation.

The Marine was reported missing from USS Essex and assumed overboard Aug. 9. At that time the ship was conducting routine operations in the Sulu Sea off the Philippine coast. Over the course of the at-sea search approximately 13,000 square nautical miles of the Sulu Sea, Mindanao Sea and the Surigao Strait were searched with more than 110 aerial sorties.

Additional support was provided to the search and rescue effort by the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, U.S. Coast Guard District 14 and Singapore Information Fusion Centre.

“Only after exhausting every possibility through persistent and thorough search efforts, we have concluded the at-sea search and rescue effort for our Marine,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Gerald Olin, commander, Amphibious Squadron One and the on-scene commander for the search and rescue operation. “We appreciate the continued support provided to us from the U.S. Embassy and Philippine Government.”

“All of our Marines and Sailors demonstrated a tremendous resilience and put forth an extraordinary effort over the past five days, and I am humbled by the teamwork and professionalism displayed by all involved to find our Marine,” said Col. Chandler Nelms, commanding officer, 13th MEU. “Our thoughts and prayers have been and will continue to be with our Marine’s family during this difficult time.”

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