U.S. Navy Suspends Search and Rescue Operations for Missing Lake Erie Sailor

The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard assets suspended search and rescue operations at sunset, approximately 7:30 p.m. local time, August 22, after an extensive four-day search was unable to locate a Sailor reported missing from USS Lake Erie (CG 70) earlier in the week.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the Sailor’s family during this difficult time,” said Capt. Christine O’Connell, commanding officer of Lake Erie. “Losing a shipmate is devastating and felt by our entire crew. We will continue to support the family in any way we can.”

The Lake Erie initiated man overboard procedures August 19, at approximately 7 a.m. local time after the sailor failed to report for duty and several attempts to locate the Sailor aboard the ship were unsuccessful.

Seven U.S. Navy ships along with multiple Navy and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) aircraft, including Navy MH-60 helicopters and E-2 Hawkeye, Coast Guard C-27 Spartans and MH-60 Jayhawk, and a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol aircraft flew more than 140 sorties, searching more than 16,550 square nautical miles of open water. Lake Erie served as on-scene commander and USCG District 11 as mission coordinator throughout the operation.

The ship was conducting routine training operations with John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCS CSG) in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

The incident remains under investigation.

On August 9, a Marine was reported missing by Navy’s Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, USS Essex (LHD 2) while the ship was conducting routine operations in the Sulu Sea off the Philippine coast. A massive search and rescue effort was conducted by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and Philippine ships and aircraft for the Marine.

The missing marine was later identified as Cpl. Jonathan Currie, a New Hampshire native and a Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion crew chief. On August 17, Currier who was previously listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN), was declared deceased.

Currier was assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and was deployed at the time of his disappearance with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 Reinforced, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), aboard the USS Essex.

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