Search and rescue operations ongoing for missing Marine

10 August 2018

From 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

A combined effort of U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and Philippine ships and aircraft are searching for a Marine reported missing from USS Essex (LHD 2).
PACIFIC OCEAN (July 21, 2018) – Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Erick Smith, assigned to the “Blackjacks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, rides in an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter during a vertical replenishment with Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) during a regularly scheduled deployment of Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The Essex ARG/MEU team is a strong, flexible, responsive, and consistent force capable of maneuver warfare across all domains; it is equipped and scalable to respond to any crisis from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to contingency operations.
In this file photo, a Helicopter Sea Combat Control Squadron (HSC 21) crewman looks on while approaching USS Essex (LHD 2) during a vertical replenishment in July. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Adam Brock)
PACIFIC OCEAN (July 21, 2018) – Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Erick Smith, assigned to the “Blackjacks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, rides in an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter during a vertical replenishment with Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) during a regularly scheduled deployment of Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The Essex ARG/MEU team is a strong, flexible, responsive, and consistent force capable of maneuver warfare across all domains; it is equipped and scalable to respond to any crisis from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to contingency operations.
180721-N-LH273-0330
In this file photo, a Helicopter Sea Combat Control Squadron (HSC 21) crewman looks on while approaching USS Essex (LHD 2) during a vertical replenishment in July. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Adam Brock)
Photo By: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam Brock
VIRIN: 180721-N-LH273-0330

SULU SEA - A combined effort of U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and Philippine ships and aircraft are currently searching for a Marine, assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked aboard USS Essex (LHD 2). The Marine was reported missing while the ship was conducting routine operations in the Sulu Sea, August 9.

Essex reported a Marine overboard at 9:40 a.m. local time.

The ship’s crew responded promptly to the situation by launching a search and rescue operation.

“As we continue our search operation, we ask that you keep our Marine and the Marine’s family in your thoughts and prayers,” said Col. Chandler Nelms, commanding officer, 13th MEU. “We remain committed to searching for and finding our Marine.”

To date, multiple searches have been conducted inside the ship while embarked aircraft aboard the USS Essex conduct round-the-clock search and rescue operations within the Sulu Sea and Surigao Strait. In addition, U.S. Navy P-8 aircraft and Philippine Coast Guard vessels have expanded the search area. Together, the response has covered roughly 3,000 square nautical miles.

"It is an all-hands effort to find our missing Marine," said U.S. Navy Capt. Gerald Olin, commander, Amphibious Squadron One and the on-scene commander of the search and rescue operation. "All of our Sailors, Marines, and available assets aboard the USS Essex have been and will continue to be involved in this incredibly important search and rescue operation."

The Marine’s family has been notified.

Guidance-Card-Icon Dept-Exclusive-Card-Icon