Missing Hawaii sailor safe and back with unit at Marine Corps base
By WYATT OLSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 16, 2018
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — A sailor who went missing two weeks ago returned voluntarily Sunday to the Hawaii Marine Corps base where he was assigned.
Navy Seaman Shaun Palmer, a hospital corpsman, had failed to report for duty at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on July 1 and was classified as an “unauthorized absence” on July 2, the Marine Corps said.
“He came back of his own accord, and he will be integrated back into the unit,” said Capt. Eric Abrams, a spokesman for III Marine Expeditionary Force at MCBH.
On Monday morning, Palmer, a native of Conrad, Iowa, posted a brief message on his Facebook page: “I’m fine I’m back on base waiting to figure out what’s going on.”
Palmer is assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment.
Abrams said he had no details about where Palmer was during the two weeks.
Had Palmer remained missing from his unit more than 30 days, he would have been classified with “deserter status,” Abrams said.
“In this sort of situation, the Marine Corps command takes it on a case-by-case basis,” Abrams said of potential discipline facing Palmer. “In general, these actions are usually administrative in nature and so they’re an internal matter.”
Administrative actions in the military can range from counseling to reprimand or even involuntary separation.
“We just want to make sure we’re gathering all the facts before we make any decision,” Abrams said.
Palmer had been last seen on Waikiki Beach outside Kelley O’Neil’s Bar early Sunday morning on July 1, Christine Izzo, the seaman’s aunt, wrote in a GoFundMe site she set up to help a family member travel to Hawaii.
The Marine Corps filed a missing persons report with the Honolulu Police Department.
Hawaii News Now reported on July 3 that Palmer’s parents had received a phone text message from the missing sailor that read, “I'm alive and I love you.”
Izzo wrote Sunday that Palmer “will be heading back to Iowa on Tuesday.”