One was the jester in his family who could make anyone laugh. Another was going to get married in a year's time to his high school sweetheart. Yet a third, just three days before the incident, had posted a Facebook link about another collision involving an American warship.
Portraits of the 10 missing sailors have emerged amid the grim confirmation on Tuesday by the US Navy that human remains have been discovered in sealed compartments of the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain. It had collided with oil tanker Alnic MC in Singapore waters on Monday.
Another five were injured.
The US Navy has not released the names of those missing.
But seven have been identified on social media and reports by media outlets, including The Straits Times: Sailors Charles Findley, 31; John Hoagland Jr, 20; Jacob Drake, 20; Kenneth Smith, 22; Logan Palmer, 23; Dustin Doyon, age unknown; and Corey Ingram, 28.
Last Friday, Mr Findley shared on his Facebook page a report by the US Navy that detailed how another destroyer, USS Fitzgerald, had flooded in a matter of minutes after it hit a Philippines-flagged container ship in June. Seven sailors died in the accident.
Three days later, on Monday, Mr Findley's own ship was damaged in the collision in the Singapore Strait.
Sailor Chris Eaton, 29, was hit with the double whammy that both Mr Findley and Mr Ingram are among the missing. He had served with them on other ships.
He described Mr Ingram as a close friend. "He was very outgoing, always willing to lend a hand. If we were ever in the same city, we would meet and go look for a party. He could befriend anyone in any room - he just had one of those personalities," he told ST via Facebook.
He added that he was not as close to Mr Findley, whom he described as a "very smart" person.
"He liked to joke around, but not about his job. He was very good at it," he said.
Former security officer Tonia Jones DuVall, 47, told ST that her cousin, Mr Hoagland, who is from Texas, loved making people laugh.
"He will act all goofy and joke around, especially with the kids. He can make you laugh - even if you don't want to," she said. "We are clinging to hope of him being alive, no matter how small it seems."
Ms April Brandon, Mr Smith's mother, had told US media outlets her son followed his father and grandfather in joining the US Navy, in part due to the education it offered. She added that his dream job was to be a video game developer.
Mr Drake's fiancee Megan Partlow, 21, told ST on Wednesday that her fiance's family have not heard from the navy since Monday.
The two, who met in high school in Ohio, planned to wed next July.
On the news that several bodies had been found, she said: "I think the waiting is going to be the hardest part. We are all trying to hold on."