U.S. Navy identifies sailors killed in plane crash


PUBLISHED Sat, November 25, 2017 - 9:40am EST


The U.S. Navy has identified 3 Sailors who are presumed to have died in Wednesday's plane crash in the Pacific Ocean near Japan. They are Lt. Steven Combs, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Airman Matthew Chialastri and Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Bryan Grosso.





The accident happened at about 2:45 p.m. local time on Wednesday when the C-2A Greyhound aircraft with 11 people on board went down in the Philippine Sea about 500 nautical miles (925 kilometers) southeast of Okinawa, which is south of the Japanese mainland.

Eight people on board the plane were rescued 40 minutes later, but the other 3 crew members were not found despite extensive search-and-rescue operations. The aircraft was on a routine transport flight from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to the USS Ronald Reagan when it went down in the water.

Combs, a native of Florida, was assigned to the “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 and embarked aboard Ronald Reagan as part of Carrier Air Wing Five. His previous duty assignments include the “Greyhawks” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120, the Center for Security Forces Detachment Kittery Point, in Portsmouth, N.H., and Training Wing 4, in Corpus Christi, Texas. His awards include the National Defense Ribbon and the Navy Battle “E” Ribbon.

Chialastri, a native of Louisiana, was assigned to Ronald Reagan. His previous duty stations include USS America (LHA 6), Patrol Squadron Thirty (VP-30), the “Pro’s Nest,” in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Center for Security Forces Detachment Kittery Point, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. His awards include the National Defense Ribbon.

Grosso, a native of Florida was assigned to Ronald Reagan. His previous duty stations include the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Pensacola, Florida, and the Naval Recruit Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois. His awards include the National Defense Ribbon.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these Sailors,” said Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander of U.S. Seventh Fleet. “Their service and sacrifice will be lasting in Seventh Fleet and we will continue to stand the watch for them, as they did bravely for all of us.”

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) led combined search and rescue efforts with units from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Over the course of two days of continuous search efforts for the Sailors, ships and aircraft covered nearly 1000 square nautical miles.

“The thoughts and prayers of the entire team onboard Ronald Reagan go out to the families and friends of our fallen shipmates,” said Capt. Michael Wosje, Commander, Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW 5). “We are thankful for our professional search and rescue teams and their incredible bravery. The entire Navy team is working together to investigate the cause of this mishap and we will remain focused on our mission to operate forward in a safe and professional manner to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region."

The cause of Wednesday's accident was not immediately known. The U.S. 7th Fleet has experienced a number of accidents this year, including one in August in which the USS John S. McCain collided with a cargo ship off Singapore, killing 10 U.S. sailors.





    

 



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