Video plea goes viral as search continues for missing USS Lake Erie sailor
By WYATT OLSON | STAR AND STRIPES Published: August 21, 2018
A woman claiming to be the mother of a missing USS Lake Erie sailor was desperate for answers as search-and-rescue efforts entered a third day in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
The sailor, who has not been identified by the Navy, failed to report for duty aboard the guided-missile cruiser at 7 a.m. Sunday, a U.S. 3rd Fleet statement said. The Lake Erie had been training with the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group in waters off Southern California.
The Lake Erie’s crew conducted man-overboard procedures and completed “multiple extensive searches” of the ship, the 3rd Fleet statement said.
The servicemember’s family has been notified, the Navy said.
Ships and helicopters assigned to the Stennis strike group and U.S. Coast Guard District 11 are continuing search-and-rescue efforts.
A woman purporting to be the missing sailor’s mother posted a video on Facebook Tuesday pleading for assistance in both finding her son and getting more information from the Navy about what was being done to locate him.
In the video, which was approaching nearly 60,000 views Tuesday evening, Alicia McCalla holds a picture of her son, Lt. j.g. Asante McCalla, dressed in his uniform. Holding back tears at times, she said, “Help us by either praying or help us by letting the Navy know that we’ve got to know what has happened.”
A 3rd Fleet spokesman declined to comment on the video.
In a similar recent case, a Marine Corps corporal went missing Aug. 9 while deployed on the amphibious-assault ship USS Essex in the Sulu Sea near the Philippines.
After a lengthy, fruitless search, Jonathan Currier was declared dead on Aug. 17. He had been serving in the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit and deployed with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group to the Pacific.