Sailor dies from injuries received in USS Frank Cable steam incident
A sailor assigned to the Guam-based USS Frank Cable died Thursday from injuries sustained when a steam pipe ruptured on the submarine tender Dec. 1, according to a news release from Commander, Submarine Force Pacific Fleet.
Seaman Jack Valentine, a firefighter and machinery repairman, was one of six sailors transported to Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, after the accident.
Valentine, 20, of Zion, Ill., died Thursday morning at Brooke, said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for Pacific Submarine Force.
The steam pipe incident is under investigation, Davis said.
Four of the injured sailors remained in very serious condition Friday, the release said. Another was released from Brooke last week for outpatient treatment. Two other sailors were treated at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam on the day of the accident and released.
The accident occurred after the ship had returned to Guam’s Apra Harbor after a daylong “Friends and Family Cruise.”
According to the release, “personnel were conducting routine preventive maintenance checks of steam safety valves when the #1 boiler experienced a major steam leak into the fire box, rupturing an exhaust plenum and sending pressurized steam into the fire room.”
A Navy investigation into the accident is continuing and damage is being assessed while the Frank Cable remains in Guam.
Meanwhile, the Lutheran Church of Guam has established the Frank Cable Heroes Fund to collect money to assist the victims and their families.
The fund name includes the word “heroes” because “I was told that they could have left the area,” said pastor Jeff Johnson, but then “there would have been much more danger to other members of the crew and to the ship.”
The men stayed to mitigate the danger, he said, “They prevented further tragedy. They are heroes.”
A spokesman from U.S. Naval Base Guam said he could not comment on any specifics of the accident.
Those wishing to donate to the Frank Cable Heroes Fund can drop off or mail donations to the Lutheran Church of Guam at 787 W. Marine Corps Drive, Hagatna, Guam 96910.
Stars and Stripes reporter Jeff Schogol contributed to this report.