When U.S. sailor Brandon Forbes failed to show up for duty for several days aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, officials became worried. A search of the ship would find Seaman Forbes dead Friday morning. The aircraft carrier was carrying out a mission in Japan. Forbes was 20-years-old.
The young sailor was a machinist’s mate fireman who aided the ship’s nuclear reactor department. For the U.S. Navy, he was part of the engineering department. Spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Dawn Stankus said Forbes was absent without authorization for days before Friday when he didn’t show up for duty. Officials later identified Forbes on the vessel – but where authorities are declining to comment for now.
However, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) arrived to the scene, authorities reported. Despite no evidence of foul play, NCIS remains actively investigating, Stankus said, per Newsweek.
Sailor’s Death Under Investigation
Further, Stankus said that the USS Ronald Reagan “remains focused on its missions” and will continue the vessel’s in-port mission which includes maintenance.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Machinist’s Mate Fireman Brandon Forbes,” Capt. Fred Goldhammer said in a statement. “He was an energetic young man who was dedicated to his duties and his shipmates onboard Ronald Reagan. The circumstances surrounding this unfortunate loss of life remain under investigation at this time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Brandon’s family as we all grapple with this tragedy.”
Capt. Goldhammer is the commander of the USS Ronald Reagan and released the statement, which was then provided by Stankus, via Stars and Stripes.
The nuclear warship, named for the first time for a living former president, was built in Newport News, Virginia. It was commissioned on July 12, 2003. The USS Ronald Reagan is usually stationed near Japan but was deployed to the Middle East and Central Asia earlier this summer to help aid the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
The investigation into the young sailor’s death is under investigation.
U.S. Navy Helicopter Crashes on Aircraft Carrier
In another devastating event, five sailors perished when an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter crashed into the USS Abraham Lincoln in September. Reports initially didn’t identify a cause, but after an investigation, officials learned that the helicopter was on a landing approach. Before it went down, the helicopter was shaking violently side to side.
In addition to the five sailors who died in the accident, another five received medical treatment after surviving the ordeal.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of five Sailors and those injured following the MH-60S helicopter tragedy off the coast of Southern California,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said.
‘We stand alongside their families, loved ones, and shipmates who grieve.’