The commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the 5th Fleet was found dead Saturday in Bahrain, the Navy announced.

Vice Adm. Scott Stearney was found in his quarters, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said in a statement.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are investigating but no foul play is suspected, Richardson said.   Defense officials told CBS News they are calling it an “apparent suicide.”

He described Stearney a “decorated naval warrior,” and a “devoted husband and father.”

“This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at Fifth Fleet, and for the entire Navy,” Richardson said.

Rear Adm. Paul Schlise, the deputy commander of 5th Fleet, has assumed command and “is maintaining continuity in our responsibilities and posture in the U.S. 5th Fleet,” Richardson said.

Stearney assumed command of 5th Fleet in May after Adm. John Aquilino moved on to take command of U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Stearney earned his commission in 1982 after graduating from the University of Notre Dame, according to his Navy biography. He graduated from the prestigious Navy Fighter Weapons School, popularly known as TOPGUN, where he later served as an instructor.

Stearney flew the F/A-18 Hornet in multiple squadrons and served aboard the aircraft carriers USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS George Washington and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Stearney also served in Afghanistan as chief of staff of Joint Task Force 435, which advises Afghan security forces.

His flag assignments included tours as commander, U.S. Transportation Command’s Joint Enabling Capabilities Command; commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic; commander, Carrier Strike Group 4; commander, Navy Warfare Development Command and director of operations, U.S. Central Command.


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