US Navy identifies deceased sailors from USS Fitzgerald collision that almost sank destroyer

USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), aided by tugs, returns to Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka following the collision. Photo: US Navy

The remains of all seven USS Fitzgerald sailors previously reported missing were found in the ship’s flooded berthing compartments on June 18.

The compartments were flooded in a collision between USS Fitzgerald and Philippine-flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal southwest of Yokosuka, Japan..

The collision was so severe that it could have sank the destroyer if it weren’t for the crew who battled to keep their ship afloat, Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin, commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, told reporters in Yokosuka, Japan.

The 30,000-ton merchant vessel hit Fitzgerald’s starboard side above and below the water line, causing significant damage and associated flooding to two berthing spaces, a machinery space, and the radio room, which damage control teams quickly began dewatering.

The ship is still listing starboard.

The seven deceased sailors who were recovered once divers gained access to the flooded areas are:

– Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia

– Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, California

– Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut

– Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas

– Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California

– Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland

– Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio

The U.S. Navy is currently investigating the incident.

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