U.S. Navy sailor dies of non-combat injury off Libya

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |  Sept. 22, 2016 at 11:45 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Defense on Thursday said Devon M. Faulkner, a U.S. Navy aviation boatswain's mate airman, died from a non-combat-related injury while supporting the U.S.-led coalition operation against the Islamic State in Libya.

Faulkner, 24, from Raleigh, N.C., was assigned to the Norfolk, Va.-based USS Wasp, which left in late June for a 6-month tour in the central Mediterranean Sea. The incident that caused Faulkner's death on Tuesday is under investigation.

Aviation boatswain's mates are responsible for launch, fueling and recovery of aircraft on the flight deck, an often hazardous job.

The U.S.-led effort against the Islamic State in Libya, named Operation Odyssey Lightning, began in late July with airstrikes being carried out against IS-held positions in the coastal city of Sirte. The Pentagon estimated there to be about 1,000 IS militants in Libya prior to the start of airstrikes.

Libya has been in conflict since its civil war in 2011, when longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi was killed by rebels backed by the United States and NATO.

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