Armed Forces News

The Navy identified the seven sailors who died when their ship, the destroyer Fitzgerald, collided with a Philippine-flagged freighter June 17. The incident took place at 2:30 a.m., roughly 64 miles southwest of Yokosuka Naval Station, Japan, Fitzgerald’s homeport. They are:
•      Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm, 37, home town Elyria, Ohio;
•      Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, home town Halethorpe, Md.;
•      Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, home town Weslaco, Texas;
•      Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, home town Chula Vista, Calif.;
•      Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, home town San Diego;
•      Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T. Truong Huynh, 25, home town Oakville, Conn.;
•      Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, home town Palmyra, Va.
According to numerous news reports, the U.S. Coast Guard is meeting with Navy and Japanese authorities in an effort to determine how and why the catastrophe happened. Coast Guard officials have interviewed crewmembers from both Fitzgerald and the merchant ship ACX Crystal.
The Navy stated that Fitzgerald’s skipper, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, is one of three sailors hurt in the incident. Benson and the two others were flown by medevac to the naval hospital at Yokosuka.
Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin, commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, praised Fitzgerald’s crew for their “heroic efforts” in the immediate aftermath of the collision.
Even though Fitzgerald lost use of one of its shafts, took on water and could have sunk, the crew managed to keep the vessel afloat and navigate it back to port using a magnetic compass and backup navigation equipment.
“Because of the tireless damage control efforts of a resolute and courageous team, the ship was able to make its way back to port on its own power,” Aucoin said. “The Fitzgerald crew responded professionally as all sailors are expected to fight the damage sustained to their ship.”