Monday, 17 December, 2018

US Marine missing in Sulu Sea

Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex simulates a strait transit as part of Dawn Blitz 2017 Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex simulates a strait transit as part of Dawn Blitz 2017
Pablo Mccormick | 12 August, 2018, 07:17

Service leaders and Pentagon officials have reportedly set aside over $5 million to finance efforts to "advise, plan and execute missions in support of Philippine counterterror operations", Marine Corps Times reports.

The US military said it had launched a search and rescue operation after reports a marine may have fallen overboard from an American warship as it sailed through Philippine waters.

"A combined effort of US Navy, US Marine, and Philippine ships and aircraft are now searching for a Marine, assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked aboard USS Essex (LHD 2)", the 13th MEU said in a statement on Friday, August 10.

The Philippine government facilitated diplomatic clearance for USA assets involved in the search and rescue operation. The USS Essex has reported a Marine overboard at 9:40 p.m. on August 9.

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The Marine belongs to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), which was aboard the assault ship USS Essex conducting "routine operations" in the area.

The Marines' statement said multiple searches had been conducted inside the ship while round-the-clock searches from the air were underway.

"It is an all-hands effort to find our missing Marine", said U.S. Navy Capt. Gerald Olin, commander of Amphibious Squadron One and the officer in charge of the search mission.

"As of now, there is still no update if the Marine is already recovered", Lorenzana said. Additional Navy P-8 aircraft and Philippine Coast Guard vessels have expanded the search to about 3,000 square nautical miles.

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The Marine's family has been notified but the name was being withheld while the search was ongoing.

Lorenzana said the United States military did not actually ask for assistance for the search and rescue mission.

"We remain committed to searching for and finding our marine", the statement quoted its commander, Colonel Chandler Nelms as saying.

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