Navy sailors and Camp Pendleton Marines aboard the San Diego-based warship USS America continue to feed, shelter and clothe the crew of the USS John S. McCain as recovery efforts continue aboard the damaged McCain to find eight sailors still missing from a collision earlier this week, Navy officials said Friday.
The USS America, an amphibious assault ship, was the first American warship to come to the aid of the McCain after it collided with the oil tanker Alnic MC early Monday in the South China Sea, Navy officials said.
Ten sailors aboard the Japan-based McCain went missing, and eight remained missing Friday morning, Navy officials said. The remains of two sailors have been found inside flooded compartments aboard the 505-foot guided- missile destroyer.
Despite the damage it sustained, the McCain was able to sail back to dock in Singapore, where it was met by the USS America.
“While the America transited to Singapore, the crew made preparations to provide food, clothing, and places for their shipmates to rest, setting aside 150 bunks for John S. McCain sailors,” Navy officials said.
When the America arrived at the Singapore port, its crew set up stations where McCain sailors picked up coveralls, boots, soaps and other essentials.
“Both Marines and sailors (contributed) whatever they had extra on board to help our McCain sailors,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Tonya Jury, an independent duty corpsman assigned to the Camp Pendleton-based 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Combat Logistics Battalion.
In essence it was us trying to give them peace of mind by providing these items,” Jury said. “It’s just a little piece of how we tried to contribute.”
The USS America, docked across the pier from the McCain, has all week “kept her doors open to feed both the McCain and America sailors during the duration of the ship’s time in Singapore,” Navy officials said.
Helicopters from the America and Marine divers from Camp Pendleton have also been heavily involved in the search effort for the missing sailors.
Two MH-60 Seahawk helicopters searched several days for missing sailors in the waters near the Straits of Malacca where the collision occurred. That search was called off Thursday after it was determined that human remains found by the Royal Malaysian Navy were not those of a McCain sailor.
Meanwhile the Camp Pendleton-based Marine divers have joined forces with Navy divers to search the flooded compartments on the McCain where it is believed the bodies of eight sailors still remain.
Friday, divers found the body of Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, of Suffield, Connecticut. Earlier in the week, divers found the body of Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
The eight sailors who remain missing are Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley, 31, from Amazonia, Missouri; Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Abraham Lopez, 39, from El Paso, Texas; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, from Gaithersburg, Maryland; Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, from Cable, Ohio; Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, from Manchester, Maryland; Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram, 28, from Poughkeepsie, New York; Electronics Technician 3rd Class John Henry Hoagland III, 20, from Killeen, Texas; and Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, from Decatur, Illinois.
—City News Service
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