Sailor presumed dead after going overboard from USS Arleigh Burke, Navy abandons search


Simone Jasper

The Charlotte Observer

A “bright, young” sailor from North Carolina was lost after going overboard in a European sea, Navy officials said.

David L. Spearman is believed to have died after he disappeared from the USS Arleigh Burke on Monday, Aug. 1.

As of Aug. 4, the Navy hadn’t recovered Spearman’s body, according to Richlyn Ivey, a public affairs officer for U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa.

“This bright, young man made an oversized positive impact on Arleigh Burke,” Cmdr. Pete Flynn, a commanding officer for the USS Arleigh Burke, said in a news release. “My entire crew’s thoughts and prayers are with Seaman Recruit Spearman’s family and friends. We offer our most sincere condolences for their loss.”

Spearman, 19, went by the name “Dee” and was from the Etowah area, WLOS reported. The community is in Henderson County, roughly 25 miles south of the mountain town of Asheville.

Spearman enlisted in November and trained in Illinois. He reported to the USS Arleigh Burke about three months ago, according to the Navy.

Officials said Spearman went overboard while the ship was in the Baltic Sea, which borders several countries in Northern and Eastern Europe. Crews from Germany and Sweden participated in an “extensive” search for him, according to the U.S. military.

On Aug. 2, officials said “search and rescue efforts” tied to Spearman’s ship had stopped.

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