Navy Launches Search for Man Overboard Off North Carolina

USS Normandy (USN file image)

By MarEx 2017-06-07 18:31:31

The guided missile cruiser USS Normandy reported a sailor overboard on Tuesday at 1500 hours, triggering a massive search and rescue operation involving surface and air assets of the Coast Guard and Navy. 

The Normandy was engaged in "independent training" 80 nm off the coast of North Carolina at the time of the incident, according to a Pentagon spokesman. Navy and Coast Guard assets participating in the ongoing search include a USCG HH-60 helicopter, a C-130 SAR aircraft, a Navy P-8 Poseidon, the Coast Guard cutter Forward, the destroyers Bainbridge, The Sullivans and Mason, the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and multiple embarked Navy helicopters. 

The search may soon be hampered by foul weather. A National Weather Service gale warning is in effect to 100 nm offshore for Wednesday night, with winds increasing to 20-30 knots and waves of up to 11 feet. Wind is expected to strengthen to up to 40 knots Thursday. 

The cause of the incident and the name of the missing sailor have not yet been released. The Navy says that it is in contact with the individual's next of kin to provide regular updates on the progress of the search. 

Normandy was commissioned in 1989 and saw action on her maiden voyage in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. She launched 26 cruise missiles over the course of the Persian Gulf campaign, and also provided vessel interdiction and minesweeping support. In 1995, she deployed to the Adriatic on short notice to launch missile strikes on Bosnian Serb military positions as part of Operation Deliberate Force. She has received numerous recognitions for superior service over the years, including four Battle "E" awards.