Navy identifies sailors missing after plane went down in Western Pacific
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 25, 2017
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – The Navy has released the names of three sailors missing after a transport plane crashed earlier this week in the Philippine Sea.
A C-2A Greyhound carrying 11 crew members and passengers went down in waters southeast of Okinawa on Wednesday afternoon while en route to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
The Navy on Saturday identified the three sailors lost in the crash on Wednesday as follows: Lt. Steven Combs; Seaman Matthew Chialastri, an aviation boatswain’s mate; and Seaman Apprentice Bryan Grosso, an aviation ordnanceman. Combs was embarked aboard the USS Ronald Reagan; Chialastri and Grosso were assigned to the Ronald Reagan.
Combs, from Florida, was assigned to the “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 30. His previous duty assignments include the “Greyhawks” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 120, the Center for Security Forces Detachment Kittery Point in Portsmouth, N.H., and Training Wing 4, in Corpus Christi, Texas. His awards include the National Defense Ribbon and the Navy Battle “E” Ribbon.
Chialastri, of Louisiana, was previously assigned to the USS America, Patrol Squadron Thirty, the “Pro’s Nest,” in Jacksonville, Fla., and the Center for Security Forces Detachment Kittery Point, in Portsmouth, N.H. His awards include the National Defense Ribbon.
Grosso, a Florida native, was previously stationed at Naval Air Technical Training Center in Pensacola, Fla., and the Naval Recruit Training Center in Great Lakes, Ill. His awards include the National Defense Ribbon.
The Navy called off search-and-rescue efforts on Friday morning, saying U.S. and Japanese ships and aircraft covered nearly 1,000 square nautical miles over two days.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these sailors,” said Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, in a statement released Saturday. “Their service and sacrifice will be lasting in Seventh Fleet and we will continue to stand the watch for them, as they did bravely for all of us.”
Shortly after Wednesday’s crash, eight people were rescued by Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 and were in good condition aboard the Ronald Reagan, the Navy said.
The Greyhound was carrying passengers and cargo from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to the Ronald Reagan at the time of the accident. It is assigned to Carrier Air Wing 5, the aviation component of carrier’s strike group.
The crash’s cause is unknown. The Yokosuka-based Ronald Reagan was conducting an annual bilateral maritime field-training exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force at the time.
The exercise, which was scheduled to run through the weekend, involves 14,000 U.S. personnel, the Navy said. It “is designed to increase the defensive readiness and interoperability of Japanese and American forces through training in air and sea operations.”