Navy ID's Dead, Missing Sailors, Including Michigan Man, from USS John McCain

Aug 25, 2017

The U.S. Navy on Thursday released names of one sailor who died and nine others who were missing 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 grew up in Novi.

Smith's mother said her son grew up in Novi, Michigan, and moved to Norfolk, Virginia, as a teenager with his father.

The military says five 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.

Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, of New Jersey had roots in Michigan.

Darryl Smith called his son "a great young man" who made his family "incredibly proud."

"Kenneth was a great young man, son and sailor," the elder Smith said in a statement issued by the Navy. "He truly loved his family, the Navy and his shipmates. I am incredibly proud of his service to our country. He will be greatly missed and I am thankful we had 22 wonderful years together."

The third-generation sailor, who worked in radar technology, was in the fourth year of a seven-year commitment and had considered a military career like his father.

April Brandon, who lives in Michigan, told Detroit media outlets that her son joined the Navy out of a desire to serve his country but also for the education it provided. His long-term goal was to develop video games.