In a matter of days, the U.S. Navy has lost two sailors to overboard incidents.
The search for both sailors has been terminated after exhaustive searches, respectively, of thousands of square miles failed to turn up any evidence as to their whereabouts.
The first incident occurred on June 6, when Fire Controlman 2nd Class Christopher W. Clavin went overboard from the USS Normandy while it was conducting training exercises off the coast of North Carolina.
The second incident occurred when another U.S. sailor, whose name has yet to be identified, fell overboard off the coast of Japan on June 9, off the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh.
The ranking Admirals assigned to both locations expressed deep regret at the loss of the sailors, releasing statements to the press shortly after the searches concluded, respectively.
“The decision to suspend the search was not arrived at lightly,” Rear Adm. Charles Williams, the commander of Carrier Strike Group 5 and Task Force 70, said in a press release concerning the sailor who went overboard from the USS Shiloh off the coast of Okinawa. “Our thoughts are with our lost shipmate, his family, and the officers and crew of USS Shiloh. I am thankful for the dedication and professionalism shown during this search by the U.S. Navy and our Japanese Allies.”
Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, had previously spoken to the press regarding the first sailor to go overboard off the USS Normandy.
“I’m proud of the determined efforts of the Navy and U.S. Coast Guard search teams,” Davidson said. “Our thoughts are with our lost shipmate, his family, and the officers and crew of USS Normandy.”
Each ship practices a drill known as the “man overboard drill.”
Generally, in these situations, a member of the crew has seen an individual go overboard and is able to sound the proper alarms.
These measures, of course, are much harder to implement when neither the crew nor the watch has seen the sailor go overboard.
Along with this drill, many sailors are taught a way to utilize their uniforms as floatation devices by tucking in certain areas and using their lungs to inflate other areas of the uniform.
“Naval forces regularly conduct man overboard training, as safety is a top priority for the Navy,” said Navy Spokesman Lt. Loren Terry.