(WAFB) - The U.S. Navy identified the three sailors lost after a Navy plane crashed in the Philippine Sea shortly after takeoff from Japan on Wednesday. One of the sailors was a Baton Rouge native.
After notifying their families that extensive search and rescue efforts had ended, officials with the Navy say they have identified Lt. Steven Combs, Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment), Airman Matthew Chialastri, and Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Bryan Grosso Nov. 25 as the three Sailors lost in a C-2A Greyhound crash on Wednesday.
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"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."
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) led combined search and rescue efforts with units from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Over the course of two days of continuous search efforts for the Sailors, ships and aircraft covered nearly 1000 square nautical miles.
Chialastri, a native of Baton Rouge, 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. His awards include the National Defense Ribbon.
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. His awards include the National Defense Ribbon and the Navy Battle "E" Ribbon.
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. His awards include the National Defense Ribbon.
The C-2A Greyhound, assigned to VRC 30, crashed en route to Ronald Reagan Nov. 22 while operating in the Philippine Sea. The aircraft was carrying 11 crew and passengers at the time, authorities say. According to the Navy, eight personnel were recovered on the scene after the crash by U.S. Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC 12).
Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome released a statement shortly after Chialastri was identified, saying:
Governor John Bel Edwards also tweeted out Saturday afternoon, asking for prayers for the families.
Officials say an investigation is in progress.
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