Three Sailors Lost in Plane Crash Near Japan Are Identified

The United States Navy on Saturday identified the three sailors lost after an aircraft carrying 11 crew members and passengers crashed in the Philippine Sea on Wednesday.

The sailors were Lt. Steven Combs, Matthew Chialastri, an aviation boatswain’s mate airman, and Bryan Grosso, an aviation ordnanceman airman apprentice, according to a statement by the Seventh Fleet.

The men have been missing since the C2-A Greyhound aircraft they were aboard crashed southeast of Okinawa, Japan, on its way to the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan. The others on board were rescued and in good condition.

The Navy ended its search for the three men on Friday and notified their families. An investigation into the crash is continuing.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these sailors,” Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, the commander of the Seventh Fleet, said in the fleet’s statement. “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.”

Lt. Combs and Airman Grosso were natives of Florida, and Airman Chialastri was a native of Louisiana. Airman Chialastri and Airman Grosso were assigned to the Ronald Reagan. Lt. Combs was assigned to a fleet logistics support squadron and had embarked aboard the Ronald Reagan as part of Carrier Air Wing Five.

Among them, the men had been stationed in Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire and Texas.

Posts on social media indicated that Airman Grosso had graduated from recruit training only a few months ago. “Good luck with your journey with the Navy,” one commenter wrote on Facebook in September.

Mr. Chialastri was the valedictorian of his 2013 graduating class at Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge, La., Scott Stevens, the school’s principal, said in an email on Saturday.

The crash was the fifth accident this year for the Seventh Fleet, which is based in Yokosuka, Japan, and includes 20,000 sailors and 50 to 70 vessels.

The Navy relieved Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin, the head of the Seventh Fleet, of his command in August, and Navy officials said two of the previous accidents — naval destroyer crashes that killed a total of 17 people — had been avoidable.

Capt. Michael Wosje, the commander of Carrier Air Wing Five, praised the search and rescue teams, which covered nearly 1,000 nautical square miles over two days.

“The entire Navy team is working together to investigate the cause of this mishap and we will remain focused on our mission to operate forward in a safe and professional manner,” Captain Wosje said in the Seventh Fleet’s statement.


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