U.S. Navy Sailor Dies in "Non-Combat Incident" in the Red Sea

USS Mason under way in the Red Sea, January 2024 (USN)
USS Mason under way in the Red Sea, January 2024 (USN)

Published Mar 24, 2024 10:47 PM by The Maritime Executive


A U.S. Navy sailor died in a non-combat incident in the Red Sea last week, according to U.S. Central Command. CBS reports that the fatality was a man-overboard, the third to date in the American-led maritime security operation off Yemen.

The victim has been identified as Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Oriola Michael Aregbesola, 34, assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 74. He was deployed aboard the destroyer USS Mason, which has been active in the air defense mission of Operation Prosperity Guardian. 

The Department of Defense said that Aregbesola died in a non-combat-related incident. 

"Petty Officer Aregbesola fully embodied the selfless character and thoughtful warrior spirit of the United States Navy Sailor," squadron commanding officer Cmdr. Eric Kohut said. "His outstanding performance prior to and during deployment went well beyond aircraft maintenance; he truly saw and valued every member of the ship/air team."

Aregbesola is the third servicemember lost over the side since the start of Operation Prosperity Guardian, the maritime security mission countering Houthi threats in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. 

On January 11, two Navy SEALs were lost in the Gulf of Aden during a boarding mission. Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers, 37, and Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram, 27, were part of a team of SEALs operating from the sea base USS Lewis B. Puller. They were on a mission to search a dhow suspected of carrying Iranian arms to Yemen. The team found what it was looking for - a cache of Iranian anti-ship missile parts - but it came at a cost. One of the men was washed off a boarding ladder by a wave, and the other jumped in to save him. After an exhaustive 10-day search, the Navy called off the rescue effort.