WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - After days of searching thousands of miles of open sea, the US Navy now hopes only to recover the bodies lost from the USS John S. McCain after it collided with an oil tanker near Singapore.
The collision on Monday (Aug 21) between the McCain - a 500-ft-long guided-missile destroyer - and the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC left five navy sailors injured and 10 missing. The collision damaged the US warship's left side, near the stern, punching a hole that stretched above and below the waterline.
The twisted steel of the flooded compartments has hindered additional search efforts as teams of divers try to gain access to parts of the ship that remain underwater.
Of the 10 sailors missing, the navy has found the remains of two sailors.
It is still unclear whether the missing bodies are confined to inaccessible parts of the ship or lost at sea.
The 10 sailors are as follows:
- Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from New Jersey (Body recovered).
Smith was a third-generation sailor and grew up in Novi, Michigan, before moving to Cherry Hill, New Jersey, the Detroit Free Press reported. Her mother April Brandon told the Free Press earlier this week that she hoped her son would be found alive. Brandon said navy officials visited her home early Monday and told her that Smith was among the missing."They explained the collision and said he was among the missing," she told the Free Press. "He's tough. I have hope."
- Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, from Connecticut (Body recovered).
Doyon's Facebook page shows an avid skier, hiker, Bud Light drinker and runner. "Live the dream of dreamers," he wrote. "Where no word is worthy of a thought, no picture as vivid as a memory." His family released the following statement: "We appreciate the courageous work of the crew in the aftermath of the collision and the continuing rescue efforts. As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for our family and we respectfully request that you honor our privacy."
- Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley, 31, from Missouri
Findley took after his navy dad, charting his own path in the service, his older sister Toni Greim told Fox4 in Kansas City. He loved computers, making him a natural fit for an electronics technician."Charles and I spent pretty much all of our childhood attached at the hip," Greim told Fox4. A family history of navy service has not stopped Greim from voicing frustration over what she says is a lack of communication regarding her brother's status."We still don't know where my brother is, and also the other men that are with my brother, they're missing too. And families are wondering, where are their loved ones?" Greim said. "I probably have lost my little brother. I don't know what's happening."
- Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Abraham Lopez, 39, from El Paso,Texas
Lopez enlisted in 1997 and was four months shy of hitting his 20-year mark in the navy, according to his LinkedIn page. He regarded himself as a "highly motivated technical leader" and was responsible for keeping the ship's communication lines open.
- Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, from Gaithersburg, Maryland
Bushell joined the navy soon after graduating high school in 2009. In one photo posted to the McCain's Facebook page in July, Bushell is on the bridge directing communications during a supply replenishment operation. "Big Bad John," the ship's nickname, is emblazoned on his uniform."Our family asks for privacy during this very difficult time as we continue to wait for further information from the United States Navy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the other missing sailors," a family spokesman said in a statement, as reported by NBC4 in Washington.
- Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, from Ohio
Drake was originally from Columbus, according to his Facebook page. He went to high school in Troy, Illinois, graduating in 2013. He joined the navy shortly after in hopes of travelling the world. His sister Veronica told the Springfield News-Sun that he was coming home in November and planned "to be back in the United States for good." He recently received a Navy and Marine Corps achievement medal for going above and beyond the call of duty during an inspection aboard the McCain.
- Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, from Maryland
Eckels is from Baltimore and joined the navy in 2013, according to his Facebook page. His pictures and videos show someone who enjoyed the outdoors, including hiking, kayaking and working out. Eckels graduated in 2012 from Manchester Valley High School in Carroll County, the Baltimore Sun reported. He was an athlete in school and a cook who spent time with his mother in the kitchen from the time he was six months old, his mother Rachel Eckels told the Sun. She said her son initially wanted to join the army but she talked him out of it."Absolutely not," she told him, recalling it to the Sun. "They're the first to go to war, the first on the line." She was working with the navy as a civilian contractor at the time her son was looking to join the military and suggested that the branch would be a safer choice.
- Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram, 28, from New York
Ingram graduated from Poughkeepsie High School in 2006 and nearby Duchess Community College in 2008, according to his Facebook page. His friend and fellow sailor Chris Eaton told The Straits Times in Singapore that Ingram "was very outgoing, always willing to lend a hand."
- Electronics Technician 3rd Class John Henry Hoagland III, 20, from Texas
Hoagland attended Robert M. Shoemaker High School in Killeen, Texas, according to his Facebook page, graduating in 2016. "I'm honest. You don't want the truth, don't ask," he wrote in his profile. On the day of the collision, his mother Stephanie took to Facebook to confirm that Hoagland was missing."Today has truly been one of the longest days, filled with so many emotions," she wrote. "Waiting for some news on the missing sailors one of which is our son. Waiting and wondering, not knowing, praying and watching loved ones try to remain strong has been so hard."
- Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, from Illinois
Palmer graduated from Sangamon Valley High School outside Decatur, Illinois, in 2012 and nearby Richland Community College in 2015, the Chicago Tribune reported. His last public Facebook posts showed pictures from a recent port call in Darwin, Australia, and training on the deck of the McCain. In the professional skills section, he listed a number of hobbies, including bass fishing and whitewater rafting.