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Sailors who died in Fitzgerald collision receive posthumous promotions

Sailors ceremonially fold seven American flags during a memorial ceremony on June 27, 2017, at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, for the USS Fitzgerald sailors who were killed in a collision at sea on June 17.

RAYMOND DIAZ III/U.S. NAVY

By TYLER HLAVAC | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 17, 2017

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy has posthumously promoted the seven USS Fitzgerald sailors who perished in a deadly June 17 collision with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan.

The Navy announced the following promotions Wednesday:

  • Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, of Palmyra, Va., was posthumously advanced to petty officer third class.
  • Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, of San Diego, Calif., was posthumously advanced to petty officer second class.
  • Ngoc T. Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Conn., was posthumously advanced to petty officer second class.
  • Noe Hernandez, 26, of Weslaco, Texas, was posthumously advanced to petty officer first class.
  • Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, of Chula Vista, Calif., was posthumously advanced to petty officer first class.
  • Xavier Alec Martin, 24, of Halethorpe, Md., was posthumously advanced to chief petty officer.
  • Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, of Elyria, Ohio, was posthumously advanced to chief petty officer.

The sailors’ bodies were recovered June 18 after divers gained access to flooded berthing compartments on the damaged ship, the Navy said in a statement announcing the promotions.

The Fitzgerald, which was placed in dry dock at Yokosuka on July 11, will be taken to the mainland United States on a heavy lift ship to undergo repairs in the fall, the service announced this week.

An investigation into the collision, led by Navy Region Hawaii commander Rear Adm. Brian Fort, is ongoing.

hlavac.tyler@stripes.com
 

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