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Submariner drowns while swimming off Guam

Dec. 28, 2012 - 10:23AM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 28, 2012 - 10:23AM  |  
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The swimmer who died off the Pagat coastline earlier this week was a Navy sailor from New York City who was set to leave the island in a few months.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicholas Barrett would most likely have left Guam early next year if he had not drowned on Monday. Barrett was assigned to the nuclear submarine Buffalo, which will soon switch its homeport to Hawaii.

Barrett was originally from the Bronx borough of New York City, and he enlisted in the Navy in July 2009. He joined Buffalo's crew in Guam in April 2011, according to a Navy news release.

"Petty Officer Barrett was a friend to everyone in the crew," said Cmdr. Rick Seif, commanding officer of the submarine. "His strong work ethic and positive attitude were infectious. The thoughts and prayers of the entire crew are with his family and friends during this most difficult time. He will be dearly missed by all of us."

Barrett died Monday afternoon off the coastline of the Pagat area, which is notorious for rough seas and dangerous rocks.

Barrett was among a group of about nine hikers, and his body was recovered from the water by the HSC-25 Navy helicopter squadron.

According to the Navy news release, preliminary medical tests suggest that Barrett's cause of death was head trauma and drowning. The death is also under investigation by the Navy Criminal Investigative Service.

According to the release, Barrett was assigned to Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, Ill., and Basic Enlisted Submarine School at Groton, Conn., prior to reporting to Buffalo. He qualified in submarines, earning the coveted "dolphin" pin, in April 2012 and had recently been promoted to petty officer third class. He had also been awarded a letter of commendation for his outstanding performance during the ship's most recent deployment.

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