The U.S. Navy sailor whom everyone thought was lost at sea, then found a week later hiding in his ship’s engine room, was recently charged with dereliction of duty and abandoning watch after he admitted he was actively hiding from searches.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Peter Mims, 23, was found aboard the cruiser USS Shiloh on June 15, after a search for him was suspended June 11. Mims was reported missing on June 8.
Mims, who served as a gas turbine systems technician, “admitted last week he actively avoided searches while military officers were looking for him, 7th Fleet Spokesman Lt. Paul Newell told Stars and Stripes,” according to Fox News.
“[…] Mims admitted during an admiral’s mast that he had actively avoided searches conducted by the ship’s crew during his weeklong disappearance,” [Newell] told Stars and Stripes; he did not give a reason for hiding.
“Newell said Task Force 70 held the proceeding, which is used to determine minor offenses, on Thursday ‘due to the seriousness of the incident and the impact it had on the [USS Ronald Regan strike group] and also our Japanese allies,’ ” Stars and Stripes reported.
Mims was charged with Uniform Code of Military Justice violations that included “absence without leave for abandoning watch under Article 86 and failure to obey an order or regulation for dereliction in the performance of duties under Article 92, the spokesman said,” Stars and Stripes reported.
The Navy Times previously reported that Mims was found hiding in the ship’s engine room.
Mims was believed to have fallen into the sea from the cruiser USS Shiloh about 180 miles east of Okinawa, Japan.
Two Japanese Coast Guard ships, the destroyers John S. McCain and McCampbell, the carrier Ronald Reagan, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, and a Navy P-8 maritime patrol aircraft were all involved in assisting the Shiloh in the search for the sailor.
The 50-hour search, covering roughly 5,500 square miles of the Philippine Sea, was suspended on midnight June 11.
Newell told Stars and Stripes that Mims “received nonjudicial punishment” and said the Navy “is looking into taking other administrative actions against the sailor,” but he declined to discuss punishment.
“According to the Manual for Courts-Martial, violations of Article 86 that last longer than three days but less than 30 have a maximum punishment of six months confinement and forfeiture of two-thirds pay per month for six months,” Stars and Stripes reported. “Violations of Article 92 that involve willful dereliction of duty carry a maximum punishment of ‘bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 6 months.’ “