Navy names the three sailors lost at sea after aircraft crash off Okinawa

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PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 20, 2017) The Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier and flagship of Carrier Strike Group Five, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), steams the Philippine Sea during Annual Exercise 2017. Annual Exercise 2017, the premier training event between the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, is designed to increase the defensive readiness and interoperability of Japanese and American Forces through training in air and sea operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate)

The Navy today released the identity of its three sailors lost after their C-2A Greyhound aircraft went into the drink Wednesday: Lt. Steven Combs, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Airman Matthew Chialastri and Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Bryan Grosso.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing, the Navy said. The names were released only after the next-of-kin were notified and the search-and-rescue operations were shut down.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these sailors,” said Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander of U.S. Seventh Fleet.

“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,” he said.

 

 

Lt. Steven Combs, assigned to the Providers of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30. Lt. Combs is one of three Sailors lost when their C-2A Greyhound crashed while conducting a routine transport flight carrying passengers and cargo from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Nov 22, 2017. (Navy photo)

The Navy also provided short biographies of the lost men.

Combs, a native of Florida, was assigned to the “Providers” of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 and embarked aboard Ronald Reagan as part of Carrier Air Wing Five. His previous duty assignments include the “Greyhawks” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120, the Center for Security Forces Detachment Kittery Point, in Portsmouth, N.H., and Training Wing 4, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Chialastri, a native of Louisiana, was assigned to Ronald Reagan. His previous duty stations include USS America (LHA 6), Patrol Squadron Thirty (VP-30), the “Pro’s Nest,” in Jacksonville, Fla., and the Center for Security Forces Detachment Kittery Point, in Portsmouth, N.H.

Grosso, a native of Florida was assigned to Ronald Reagan. His previous duty stations include the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Pensacola, Fla., and the Naval Recruit Training Center in Great Lakes, Ill.

USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) led combined search and rescue efforts with units from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Over the course of two days of continuous search efforts for the sailors, ships and aircraft covered nearly 1,000 square nautical miles.

Aviation BoatswainÕs Mate (Equipment) Airman Matthew Chialastri, assigned to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Airman Chialastri is one of three Sailors lost when their C-2A Greyhound crashed while conducting a routine transport flight carrying passengers and cargo from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Nov. 22, 2017. (Navy photo)

“The thoughts and prayers of the entire team onboard Ronald Reagan go out to the families and friends of our fallen shipmates,” said Capt. Michael Wosje, Commander, Carrier Air Wing Five (CVW 5).

“We are thankful for our professional search and rescue teams and their incredible bravery. 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 to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, “Wosje said.

“The C-2A Greyhound, assigned to VRC 30, crashed en route to Ronald Reagan Nov. 22 while operating in the Philippine Sea,” he said.

Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Bryan Grosso, assigned to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Airman Apprentice Grosso is one of three Sailors lost when their C-2A Greyhound crashed while conducting a routine transport flight carrying passengers and cargo from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Nov. 22, 2017. (Navy photo)

 

The aircraft was carrying 11 crew and passengers at the time.

Eight personnel were recovered on scene after the crash by Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC 12).