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Search underway for Camp Pendleton Marine missing at sea

Marines with Maritime Raid Force, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conduct a deck shoot on the flight deck aboard USS New Orleans (LPD 18) Oct. 20, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ammon W. Carter/Released)

An all-hands effort is underway near the Philippines to find a U.S. Marine reported overboard Thursday morning from the amphibious assault ship Essex.

The unidentified Marine is deployed with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit based out of Camp Pendleton.

The Essex left Naval Base San Diego with its complement of Marines on July 10.

The Navy, Marine Corps and Philippine ships and aircraft are searching the Sulu Sea, where the ship was conducting routine operations, the Marines said in a news release Friday.

“It is an all-hands effort to find our missing Marine,” said Navy Capt. Gerald Olin, the amphibious squadron commander leading the search and rescue operation, in a statement. “All of our sailors, Marines and available assets aboard the USS Essex have been and will continue to be involved in this incredibly important search and rescue operation.”

The Marines’ statement said multiple searches had been conducted inside the ship while round-the-clock searches from the air were underway. Additional Navy P-8 aircraft and Philippine Coast Guard vessels have expanded the search to about 3,000 square nautical miles.

The operation began as soon as the Marine was reported overboard at 9:40 a.m. local time Thursday — 6:40 p.m. Wednesday in San Diego.

The Marines said the missing Marine’s family has been notified, but the name is being withheld while the search is ongoing.

Col. Chandler Nelms, the commanding officer of the unit, asked people to keep the Marine and the Marine’s family in their thoughts and prayers.

“We remain committed to searching for and finding our Marine,” he said.


© 2018 The San Diego Union-Tribune

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