Navy IDs 2 dead, 8 missing sailors from the USS John McCain – Washington Post
Divers recovered the remains of Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, on Thursday night. He is from Suffield, Connecticut.
They earlier recovered the remains of Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, who the Navy listed as being from New Jersey. His mother said Smith grew up in Novi, Michigan, and moved to Norfolk, Virginia, as a teenager with his father.
The military said five sailors were injured and 10 were missing following Monday’s collision. The Navy said missing soldiers were from Missouri, Texas, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Connecticut and Illinois.
The collision tore a hole in the ship’s left rear hull and flooded adjacent compartments, including crew berths and machinery and communication rooms. The U.S. Navy said it has suspended search and rescue efforts, though divers continue search and recovery efforts inside flooded compartments of the ship.
Here are brief portraits of Smith, Doyon and the missing sailors:
Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, of New Jersey
Darryl Smith called his son “a great young man” who made his family “incredibly proud.”
“Kenneth was a great young man, son and sailor,” the elder Smith said in a statement issued by the Navy. “He truly loved his family, the Navy and his shipmates. I am incredibly proud of his service to our country. He will be greatly missed and I am thankful we had 22 wonderful years together.”
The third-generation sailor, who worked in radar technology, was in the fourth year of a seven-year commitment and had considered a military career like his father.
April Brandon, who lives in Michigan, told Detroit media outlets that her son joined the Navy out of a desire to serve his country but also for the education it provided. His long-term goal was to develop video games.
Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, of Connecticut
Doyon enlisted in the Navy in April 2015, and reported to the USS John S. McCain, his first ship, in June 2016.
“We appreciate the courageous work of the crew in the aftermath of the collision,” his family said in a statement.
Doyon graduated from Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 2009. The school was destroyed in a tornado in 2011 and its students were later sent to a new regional Catholic high school, Pope Francis High School.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal called for “a swift and thorough investigation to determine how this could have happened and how to prevent future tragedy.” He added that it’s the fourth Navy accident in the Pacific since January and second involving a Connecticut sailor.
Ngoc T. Truong Huynh of Watertown, Connecticut, was killed in a June collision between a destroyer and container ship off Japan. He was one of seven sailors killed aboard the USS Fitzgerald.
Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley, 31, of Missouri
Findley’s sister, Toni Greim, says she and Findley spent most of their childhoods “attached at the hip” and “moved around a lot as children with a Navy dad.”
After spending some of his childhood in the Kansas City suburb of Parkville and attending high school in the northern Missouri city of St. Joseph, Findley got his GED and found the Navy. Greim, who is 34, said her younger brother was “really into computers.”
“It’s crazy how much he excelled,” Greim told WDAF-TV on Wednesday. “He’s always graduated first of his class. He became First Class. He’s getting awards; he’s sailing around the world; he fell in love with a woman named Riho and married her.”
Findley has an 8-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son who live in Virginia with their mom.
Greim said the hard part is “just not knowing” what happened to her brother.
“I want to know where my brother is — I want to know what’s taking so long,” she said.
Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Eckels Jr., 23, of Maryland
Eckels initially wanted to go into the Army, but his mother put her foot down.
“Absolutely not,” Rachel Eckels recalled telling her son in an interview with The Baltimore Sun. “They’re the first to go to war, the first on the line,” she said.
Eckels enlisted in the Navy before graduating from Manchester Valley High School in 2012, but had to delay entering the service due to medical issues, his mother said. She told the newspaper he was an athlete in school and loved cooking.
Rachel Eckels said he would call her from the ship a couple of times a week and tell her about their port visits in Japan, Vietnam, Australia and Singapore and about life at sea.
“At night the sea is so still that it looks like ice or a sheet of water,” she recalled her son telling her.
The last call from her son came Sunday morning, but she missed it, she told the Sun. Hours later, her ex-husband texted her about the collision, she said.
Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Bushell, 26, of Maryland
Bushell tried a few jobs after high school but nothing really excited him until he decided to join the Navy, his father said.
Thomas Bushell said the service ended up being a good fit for his son, who didn’t mind the regimented schedule or taking orders.
When Bushell was growing up, the two of them enjoyed riding all-terrain vehicles in the woods together. Thomas Bushell described his son as an outgoing man who gets along with everyone.
“There was never a mean bone in that boy’s body,” Bushell said. “He was a joy growing up. He was just the sweetest boy,” he said.
If his son is gone, it’s because “God wanted him back,” Bushell said.
“To me, he had nothing left to prove to the rest of the world or anybody about what kind of man he was,” Bushell said.