I'm so proud of him: Sailor's dad

Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, who was stationed aboard the USS John S. McCain when it collided with a merchant vessel in waters near Singapore and Malayasia, on Aug 21, 2017.
Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, who was stationed aboard the USS John S. McCain when it collided with a merchant vessel in waters near Singapore and Malayasia, on Aug 21, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

The father of a dead US sailor who has been identified said he was "incredibly proud of his service to our country", as the list of the missing crew from the USS John S. McCain was released by the US Navy yesterday.

Divers from the US Navy and Marine Corps divers found the remains of Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from New Jersey. Nine others remain missing.

In a statement released by the US Navy, Mr Smith's family thanked all those who extended their condolences, sympathy and prayers.

"Kenneth was a great young man, son and sailor. He truly loved his family, the Navy and his shipmates. I am incredibly proud of his service to our country. He will be greatly missed and I am thankful we had 22 wonderful years together," wrote Mr Darryl Smith, who is himself an Electronics Technician.

"As we mourn Kenneth, we would like to recognise and thank so many people for their efforts and support, especially the brave crew of USS John S. McCain, and all the search and rescue personnel who are still hard at work with a difficult task... Most important, we ask you to keep in your thoughts and prayers all the families and friends of those affected by this tragedy."

The family asked for privacy to grieve during this difficult time. The Navy statement added that it would continue search and recovery efforts inside the ship's flooded compartments.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2017, with the headline 'I'm so proud of him: Sailor's dad'. Print Edition | Subscribe