Sailors Lost in USS Fitzgerald Collision identified

 In Military

On Monday morning, the US Navy’s 7th Fleet released the names of the sailors who died in the USS Fitzgerald collision. In the midst of such a tragedy, there are stories of heroism, and feelings of grief as the survivors cope with the aftereffects of the disaster.

The names of the sailors lost are as follows: Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia; Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, California; Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut; Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas; Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlosvictor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California; Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland; and Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio.

Survivor’s Guilt

We received a message from a shipmate on the Fitzgerald who let us know that most of the sailors also lost their possessions. Volunteers have been working hard to replace lost uniform items, according to the 7th Fleet. Other ships based in  Yokosuka have been trying to help with other items.

“The crew is pretty badly demoralized having lost 7 of our very dear shipmates. This crew fought for our lives to get the ship back to the pier. The berthings flooded out so most of us lost all their personal belongings.” GSM2 King USS Fitzgerald DDG 62 reported that one woman’s son kept diving in an effort to save his shipmates. Others ran to man the guns, thinking they were under attack.

Mia Sykes of Raleigh, North Carolina, told The Associated Press on Sunday that her 19-year-old son, Brayden Harden, was knocked out of his bunk by the impact, and water immediately began filling the berth, after their destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship four times its size off the Japanese coast…

Sykes says her son told her that four men in his berth, including those sleeping on bunks above and below him died, while three died in the berth above his.

“They did what they were trained to do,” said Sykes, who said she hopes her son, from Herrin, Illinois, can come home to be with family as he works through what happened. “You have to realize most of them are 18, 19 and 20-year-olds living with guilt. But I told him, ‘There’s a reason you’re still here and make that count.'”

In an article in the Navy Times, each of the sailors who died were remembered as “selfless.”One of the men, Gary L. Rehm, Jr had only 3 months to retirement. All were valued, with many of the younger men rising quickly in the ranks. All were loved by their families and well liked by shipmates. Their remains left Japan for home on June 19.

The damage to the US Fitzgerald was significant. There are many questions yet to be answered regarding how the collision occurred. But for now, the process of grieving continues.

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