3 sailors missing in Western Pacific plane crash identified

Lt. Steven Combs, a native of Florida assigned to the “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron, is among the missing. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

Nov. 25 (UPI) — The Navy on Saturday released the names of three sailors missing after a transport plane crashed last week in the Western Pacific.

The sailors have been missing since a C-2A “Greyhound” went down in the Philippine Sea about 500 nautical miles southeast of Okinawa on Wednesday afternoon while en route to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

Eleven crew members and passengers were aboard. Eight were rescued by Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 and listed in good condition aboard the Ronald Reagan, the Navy said.

On Friday, the U.S. Navy called off search-and-rescue efforts after U.S. and Japanese ships and aircraft covered nearly 1,000 square nautical miles in two days.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these sailors,” said Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, in a statement released Saturday. “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.”

The missing include two sailors from Florida: Lt. Steven Combs, assigned to the “Providers” of the Fleet Logistics Support Squadron and Seaman Apprentice Bryan Grosso, an aviation ordnanceman. Seaman Matthew Chialastri, an aviation boatswain’s mate from Louisiana, is also missing.

The U.S. military is investigating why the plane crashed.

The C2-A “Greyhound” transported “high-priority” cargo, mail, duty passengers and visitors between the Reagan and shore bases in the west Pacific and Southeast Asia. The C2-A, a high-wing aircraft, was introduced in 1966.

The Yokosuka-based Ronald Reagan has been conducting drills with Japan.


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