“They did what they were trained to do.”
This was according to Mia Sykes, mother of 19-year-old son, Brayden Harden; one of the USS Fitzgerald crew who survived the deadly collision that left 7 of his shipmates d**d.
The USS Fitzgerald Navy destroyer collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship that was four times its size on June 17, Saturday, around 2:20 am off the coast of Japan.
Most of the 300 crew at the time were sleeping onboard.
Speaking to Associated Press, Mrs. Sykes from Raleigh, North Carolina, narrated her son was knocked out of his bunker upon the impact of collision.
Four of those sleeping above and below Harden’s bunker were k****d. Three others sleeping below his berth also died in the tragedy.
Mrs. Sykes said her son kept on diving to save his shipmates from drowning as waters began to flood the berth, until the area ran out of air pockets. Some of the sailors thought they were attacked and hurried to man the ship’s guns.
“They did what they were trained to do,” said Mrs. Sykes.
“You have to realize most of them are 18, 19 and 20-year-olds living with guilt. But I told him, ‘There’s a reason you’re still here, and make that count,” she added.
Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin also acknowledged the heroic deeds of the crew who tried desperately to save the ship from sinking.
“Heroic efforts prevented the flooding from catastrophically spreading, which could have caused the ship to founder or sink,” said Aucoin, according to The Navy Times.
“It could have been much worse. … Because of the tireless damage control efforts of a resolute and courageous team, the ship was able to make its way back to port safely on its own power last evening,” added the head of U.S. 7th Fleet.
Meanwhile, the US Navy has released the names of the 7 sailors who died in the accident. They are:
- Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19
- Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25
- Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25
- Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26
- Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlosvictor Ganzon Sibayan, 23
- Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24
- Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr, 37