Search underway for US Sailor reported missing off the coast of North Carolina

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 23, 2014) The guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) breaks from formation during a maneuvering exercise with the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Seaman Anthony N. Hilkowski/Released)

The search continues for a US Sailor missing off the coast of North Carolina, having presumably fallen overboard from the guided missile cruiser USS Normandy on the 73rd anniversary of the Normandy invasion of World War II.

Reported overboard 80 miles off the coast of Cherry Point, the sailor -who has not been publicly identified, though some sources report the sailor a 23-year-old male- has been officially missing since 3PM on Tuesday, according to US Fleet Forces Command.

The man-overboard alert prompted a gargantuan search effort with US Marine, Coast Guard and Navy assets, including assistance from the USS Abraham Lincoln, the USCG Forward, and the destroyers USS Bainbridge, The Sullivans and Mason.

While the water and air temperatures are in the low 70s near North Carolina’s outer banks, time is of the essence in search operations such as these, which have now exceeded 18 hours.

“The Sailor’s next of kin has been made aware of the incident and is being provided updates on the ongoing search and rescue operation,” Fleet Forces Lt. Cmdr. Brian Wierzbicki said to the Navy Times in an email. “Command leadership is in contact with Normandy families to make them aware of the incident as well. Our thoughts remain with the Normandy family and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.”

Commissioned in December of 1989, the USS Normandy was the first ship since World War II to go to war on her maiden cruise, taking part in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1995, Normandy launched Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Bosnian-Serb communications tower during Operation Deliberate Force. By 1998, she held the title of “Most Tomahawks shot by a US Navy cruiser” and has been very active since then.

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