By Will Fritz
Two graduates of local high schools were among those killed when the U.S.S. Fitzgerald collided with a freighter off the coast of Japan.
Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Douglass, 25, was a 2010 graduate of Fallbrook High School. Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Sibayan, 23, was a 2012 graduate of Chaparral, and was reportedly a member of the school’s Naval Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps while enrolled there.
Both, along with five other sailors, perished in a collision with the ACX Crystal, a container ship flagged in the Phillipines, off Japan’s Izu Peninsula.
The other five were identified as Dakota Rigsby, 19, of Palmyra, Virginia; Ngoc Truong Huynh, 25, of Oakville, Connecticut; Noe Hernandez, 26, of Weslaco, Texas; Alec Martin, 24, of Halethorpe, Maryland; and Gary Rehm Jr., 37, of Elyria, Ohio.
“Our deepest sympathies are with the families of these sailors,” Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin said in a statement Sunday.
The Fitzgerald suffered severe damage as flooding overtook three large compartments, including one machinery room and two berthing areas for 116 crew, Aucoin said.
The incident occurred Saturday at 2:20 a.m. local time.
The commanding officer’s cabin was directly impacted by the collision, injuring Commander Bryce Benson. A medevac was performed on Benson by the Japanese Coast Guard, Aucoin said. A medevac was also performed on two other sailors with minor injuries.
All three patients are alert and under observation at naval Hospital Yokosuka, Aucoin said.
“The ship’s crew was swift and responsive and I can’t tell you how proud I am of the crew for what they did to save this ship,” Aucoin said. “So through the heroic efforts of the ship’s crew, they prevented this ship from foundering or even sinking.”
Aucoin said the incident will be investigated.
“We owe it to our families and the Navy to understand what happened,” he said.