Navy: Suffield sailor among missing in USS John McCain collision

Dustin Doyon. This photo is from his Facebook page.

Washington – The U.S. Navy  on Thursday officially confirmed that a sailor from Suffield, Petty Officer Dustin Doyon, is among those missing after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore on Monday.

After the collision,  Navy divers began a search of  a flooded compartment of the ship to find remains of those reported missing.

“U.S. Navy and Marine Corps divers will continue search and recovery efforts inside flooded compartments in the ship for the missing sailors,” the Navy said in a release.

The Navy also said it had recovered the remains of one sailor, Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, from Cherry Hill, N.J.

Doyon’s family in Suffield said the sailor was unaccounted for in a statement issued late Tuesday.

In a statement, Doyon’s family thanked all “who have expressed concern and offered prayers” as they awaited word from the Navy and “respectfully request that you honor our privacy.”

Doyon, 26, who was a Navy electronic technician, who graduated from Cathedral High School in Springfield, Mass. in 2009. He is the second seaman from Connecticut involved in recent Navy mishaps.

Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc “Tan” Truong Huynh, 25, of Watertown, was  one of seven sailors who died in a June 17 collision off the coast of Japan between the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship .

The USS John McCain accident was the fourth involving a U.S. warship this year and the second fatal collision.

That has prompted the U.S. Navy to dismiss Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin as commander of the 7th Fleet on Wednesday. It also prompted the Navy to order a rare, one-day operational pause.

The McCain suffered a steering failure as the warship was beginning its approach into the Strait of Malacca, and it’s unclear why the crew couldn’t use the ship’s backup steering systems to maintain control.

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said he’s pressing for a hearing, scheduled jointly by the committee’s seapower and readiness panels, on Sept. 7, to investigate the collisions in the Pacific-based 7th Fleet.

“This is becoming just too frequent,” he said.

Courtney said he is hoping for a witness from the Navy and the  Government Accountability Office (GAO) to testify.

The GAO in 2015 issued a report addressing the problems faced by ships that are homeported overseas, like the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John McCain.

In that report, the GAO said there is “difficulty in keeping crews fully trained and ships maintained.”

The majority of the Navy’s fleet is homeported overseas.

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