The United States Navy reported that they are currently conducting an “all-hands effort” search for a United States Marine that fell overboard while the ship he was on was conduction operations off the coast of the Philippines in the Sulu Sea. The Naval ship, the U.S.S. Essex, admitted that the Marine was still unaccounted for at roughly 0940 (UTC) on Thursday. The Navy began search and rescue operations the moment the situation became apparent according to reports.
United States Navy Captain Gerald Olin who is the commander of the Amphibious Squadron One and in-charge of the current search and rescue operation stated that,
It is an all-hands effort to find our missing Marine. All of our Sailors, Marines and available assets aboard the U.S.S. Essex have been and will continue to be involved in this incredibly important search and rescue operation.”
According to the Navy, the Marine Corps and Philippines’ Military and emergency services are also aiding in the search and rescue efforts. The Commanding Officer of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Marine Colonel Chandler Nelms stated that, “As we continue our search operation, we ask that you keep our Marine and the Marine’s family in your thoughts and prayers.” Search and rescue staff claim they have already covered nearly 3,000 nautical miles up to this point. They are continuing to search utilizing various amphibious assault ships and aircraft. According to military officials, the Marine’s family members have been notified as to the situation.
This particular missing service member incident is not a far cry from this past June when a United States Navy sailor was reported to have fallen overboard and gone missing. Gas Turbine Systems Technician 3rd Class Peter Mims was discovered to be hiding away in a boiler room aboard the U.S.S. Shiloh. Mims’s disappearance had prompted a large-scale search and rescue effort by the U.S. military and their Japanese counterparts. When finally discovered, Rear Admiral Charles Williams stated that, “We are thankful to have found our missing shipmate and appreciate all the hard work of our Sailors and Japanese partners in searching for him. I am relieved that this Sailor’s family will not be joining the ranks of Gold Star Families that have sacrificed so much for our country.”
Featured image: The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) transits the Pacific Ocean. Essex is underway participating in a composite training unit exercise with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group. | U.S. Navy photo, via Wikimedia Commons