A massive multinational search and rescue effort for a Marine reported overboard off the Philippine coast has ended without finding the missing Marine.
More than 110 aerial sorties were launched and nearly 13,000 square nautical miles in the Sulu Sea, Mindanao Sea and Surigao Strait were searched over a five-day period for the Marine reported overboard from the amphibious assault ship Essex.
A sub-hunting Navy P8 Poseidon and aircraft from the Essex were used in the search and rescue operation. Additional support was provided by the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, U.S. Coast Guard, Philippine coast guard and the Singapore Information Fusion Center, according to a command release.
“Only after exhausting every possibility through persistent and thorough search efforts, we have concluded the at-sea search and rescue effort for our Marine,” U.S. Navy Capt. Gerald Olin, the commander of Amphibious Squadron One and leader of the search operation, said in the release. “We appreciate the continued support provided to us from the U.S. Embassy and Philippine Government.”
The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit was conducting “routine operations" in the Sulu Sea when a Marine from the Essex was reported missing on Aug. 9.
Col. Chandler Nelms, the commander of the 13th MEU, said the Marines and sailors showed “tremendous resiliency” and endeavored in an “extraordinary effort,” over the five-day search operation.
“Our thoughts and prayers have been and will continue to be with our Marine’s family during this difficult time,” Nelms said.
The incident is currently under investigation and Marine officials have not released the name of the missing Marine.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.