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Navy identifies missing Roosevelt carrier sailor, declares him dead

The U.S. Navy on Monday ruled Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Ethan Garrett Goolsby deceased following a 55-hour search for the missing sailor by the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Alex Millar/U.S. Navy
The U.S. Navy on Monday ruled Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Ethan Garrett Goolsby deceased following a 55-hour search for the missing sailor by the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Alex Millar/U.S. Navy

Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy on Monday identified a sailor who is suspected to have fallen overboard from the USS Theodore Roosevelt in Southern California waters, after a search for his body was called off.

Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Ethan Garrett Goolsby, from San Antonio, Texas, was unaccounted for during a ship-wide assembly on Thursday.

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A 55-hour search covered 607 square nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean and, although no body was found, the Navy declared him deceased on Monday.

Goolsby joined the Navy in 2019, and reported for duty aboard the aircraft carrier in July 2020. The incident remains under investigation.

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He was reported missing three days after the aircraft carrier left San Diego, its homeport, for its second deployment of the year.

The carrier's entire strike group was in quarantine since mid-November after the Navy confirmed two new onboard cases of COVID-19.

In July, the ship returned to San Diego after six months in the Pacific Ocean for an extended deployment as sailors fought a COVID-19 outbreak on board.

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Nearly one-fifth of its crew of about 5,000 was found to have the virus at the time, and one, CPO Charles Robert Thacker Jr., died from complications of the infection.

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The incident caused a leadership shakeup aboard the ship and ultimately in the Navy itself. Capt. Brett Crozier, the ship's commander, was fired following media reports of a memo pleading for more help in containing the outbreak.

Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly publicly criticized Crozier for allowing the memo to go public in a profanity-laden tirade to sailors on the ship, which was docked in Guam at the time as sailors and other personnel were isolated and working to contain the outbreak. Modly later resigned his position.

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