Houston News & Search
The U.S. Navy on Thursday released names of one sailor who died and nine others who were missing, including one from Cleveland, Texas, after the USS John McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore.
Divers recovered the remains of Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, who the Navy listed as being from New Jersey. His mother said Smith grew up in Novi, Michigan, and moved to Norfolk, Virginia, as a teenager with his father.
The military says five other sailors were injured and 10 were missing following Monday’s collision. The Navy says missing soldiers were from Missouri, Texas, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Connecticut and Illinois.
The collision tore a hole in the ship’s left rear hull and flooded adjacent compartments, including crew berths and machinery and communication rooms. The U.S. Navy said it has suspended search and rescue efforts, though divers continue search and recovery efforts inside flooded compartments of the ship.
John Henry Hoagland III, 20, the missing sailor from Cleveland, knew as a 5-year-old that military service was for him, according to his mother Cynthia Kimball. A recruiter steered him toward the Navy.
When looking out from the deck of the USS John McCain, Hoagland, who worked as a electronics technician, often was struck by the immensity of the Pacific Ocean and the sparkling clarity of the stars above.
“He wouldn’t have wanted to be in any other branch,” Kimball said Wednesday. “He sends me pictures of just water.”
Hoagland spent his early years in Cleveland, northeast of Houston, and later lived in the Central Texas city of Killeen where he graduated from high school. He had long expressed an interest in stepping out of Texas and traveling the world, she said.
He enlisted in 2015 and has served aboard the McCain since last October as an electronic technician.
“He’s very proud of what he does,” says Kimball, who lives with her husband at Fort Benning in Georgia.
On Monday, his stepmother Stephanie Hoagland expressed agony on social media over waiting to find out about the missing sailor.
“Today has truly been one of the longest days, filled with so many emotions,” Stephanie wrote on Facebook. “Waiting and wondering, not knowing, praying and watching loved ones try to remain strong has been so hard.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Houston News & Search