Sailor from Elyria Among Seven Dead in Collision off Japanese Coast


[image-1] Thirty-seven-year-old Gary Leo Rehm Jr., from Elyria, was among seven United States sailors who died when a Navy destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald (pictured above), collided with a container shop off the Japanese coast over the weekend.

The other casualties, as reported by the Navy to the Associated Press, were: Gunner's Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia; Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, California; Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut; Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas; Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlosvictor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California and Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland.

Gary Rehm was a Fire Controlman 1st Class.

The crash occurred at 2:20 a.m. Saturday, when most of the crew members were asleep. It severely damaged a machinery room and two berthing areas. There were 285 men on board.

According to the Navy, victims might have been killed by the impact of the collision or drowned in the flooding.

A Reuters report said the Fitzgerald may have sunk if not for the heroic efforts of the crew. It also said that collisions like these are extraordinarily rare these days, thanks to advanced navigational technology.

"Naval historians recall possibly the last time a warship was hit by a larger vessel in peacetime was in 1964 off the coast of Australia’s New South Wales," read the Reuters story. "The HMAS Melbourne, an aircraft carrier, collided with the destroyer HMAS Voyager, shearing the much smaller vessel in half and killing 82 of the Voyager's crew."

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