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UPDATE: Sailor killed by propeller on USS George H.W. Bush; now identified

An E-2C Hawkeye attached to the "Bear Aces" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning squadron (VAW)124 prepares to take off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brianna Bowens/U.S. Navy)
September 19, 2018

A tragic accident occurred on the USS George H.W. Bush, claiming a sailor’s life on Monday.

Airman Apprentice Joseph Min Naglak, 21, was killed after being struck by an E-2C Hawkeye’s moving propeller while securing the aircraft, according to a Navy statement released Wednesday afternoon.

Naglak was a New Jersey native who enlisted in April 2017. He served as an Aviation Boatswain Mate (Handling) Airman Apprentice.

An incident on board deemed a “mishap” occurred around 4:45 p.m. Monday on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier. No other injuries were reported, U.S. Naval Institute News reported.

“The loss of a shipmate is a heartbreaking experience for a crew of a Naval vessel and those aboard USS George H.W. Bush will mourn Naglak’s passing and remember him always for his devoted service and sacrifice to our Nation,” the Navy statement said.

The Navy is investigating the incident.

A spokesman for Naval Air Force Atlantic, Dave Hecht, told Pilot Online that pilots were performing carrier qualifications on Monday. The qualifications included the launch and landing of aircraft on the aircraft carrier.

Hecht called the incident a “tragic situation.” He added, “Our hearts and prayers go out to the family.”

Hecht said the incident temporarily suspended operations until Tuesday. “USS George H.W. Bush has resumed flight operations and remains underway at sea to complete naval pilot aircraft carrier qualifications,” the Navy statement confirmed Wednesday.

The sailor’s identity was withheld for the standard 24-hour next-of-kin notification period, and released Wednesday.

“We ask for your patience and understanding as the crew grieves the loss of one of their shipmates,” said a statement from Naval Air Force Atlantic.

The sailor’s death is the 13th to take place in Navy or Marines “mishap” or combat operations this year.

The aircraft carrier was among more than 30 ships to leave Norfolk last weekend in preparation for then-Hurricane Florence. It remained deployed within

Last year, the vessel served a seven-month deployment throughout the Middle East, Mediterranean, and North Atlantic. In 2018, the carrier has focused on training operations while deployed in the Atlantic.

Prior to the latest incident, a sailor was killed and another injured in August during a “mishap” incident in which an auxiliary fuel tank fell from a grounded HH-60H Sea Hawk helicopter, according to

In June, a sailor was reportedly killed on a helicopter flight line at Naval Station in Norfolk, reported. The incident was also characterized as a “mishap” although it was later revealed that the sailor died by suicide.