7 Navy sailors killed aboard USS Fitzgerald flown back to US, flags ordered to fly at half-staff
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The bodies of seven sailors who died aboard the USS Fitzgerald are being flown back to the U.S. from Japan, as multiple investigations are underway into what caused the collision.
The Coast Guard will being interviewing the crew of the container ship that collided with the destroyer.
The U.S. Navy is also investigating as well as the Japanese Coast Guard and the Japan Transport Safety Board.
Gov. Jerry Brown Tuesday ordered flags at the state Capitol to be flown at half-staff in memory of two San Diego-area sailors who died in the collision of a Navy destroyer and a merchant vessel near Japan.
Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, of Chula Vista, and Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, of San Diego, were among seven crew members of the USS Fitzgerald killed Saturday.
Brown and first lady Anne Gust Brown said the sailors "bravely gave their lives in service to our state and nation” and extended their "deepest condolences” to the sailors’ families and friends.
The victims were asleep in berths that were flooded in the Japan-based ship, which made it back to port.
On Sunday, Sibayan’s mother said her 23-year-old son was her hero and acted as the family’s father figure during his dad’s own Navy deployments. He graduated in 2012 from Chaparral High School in Temecula, where he was active in the school’s Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program for four years.
Douglass, 25, was an "adventurous young man” proud to be a part of his crew and of service to his country, his family said. The publication Stars and Stripes reported that he grew up in Okinawa before moving to San Diego County and graduating from Fallbrook High School in 2010.
"We would like to thank the San Diego, Navy/Marine Corps, and Japanese communities for the outpouring of prayers and support we’ve received the past few days. You’ve made a difficult time a little bit easier.
Shingo was a loving and loved son, brother, grandson and friend. He loved the Navy and was very proud to be part of the USS Fitzgerald crew. He felt a very strong bond with his Fitzgerald shipmates.
Shingo was an adventurous young man. He loved to travel, was a certified scuba diver and a Black Belt in karate, and played tennis. He was also an avid gamer, studied computer game design, and loved to attend Comic Con.
He was very proud of both his Japanese and military family background. Shingo was born at the naval hospital in Okinawa and spent many summers as a boy in Japan, learning to speak fluent Japanese. He was thrilled to return in 2014, reporting for duty to USS Fitzgerald.
Shingo served his Nation proudly, and we are also very proud of him and his service. We loved him very much and his parents and younger brother will miss him more than words can express.
We would also like to commend the crew of USS Fitzgerald for the heroic efforts to save the ship and many lives. We know now why Shingo was proud to serve with you."