The Navy has identified a destroyer Stethem sailor who has been missing since Tuesday and presumed overboard.
Lt. Steven D. Hopkins was reported missing at about 9 a.m. local time Tuesday while the ship was underway in the South China Sea, according to 7th Fleet officials.
The Navy suspended its search for the sailor on Friday and Hopkins’s disappearance is under investigation.
Hopkins was a Texas native who received his commission at The Citadel in 2009 and reported to the Stethem in July, according to 7th Fleet.
His previous tours included time on the destroyer Ramage, the cruiser Normandy and with the Operational Test and Evaluation Force.
The 79-hour search for Hopkins this week covered roughly 10,000 square miles and involved Japanese and Chinese ships, 7th Fleet officials said.
Two PLAN frigates shadowing Stethem, which is being assisted by two Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships, are now also aiding the recovery effort.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our lost shipmate, their family, and the officers and crew of USS Stethem,” Task Force 70 commander Rear Adm. Charles Williams said in a statement.
Hopkins was reported missing and assumed overboard as the Stethem steamed about 140 miles west of the Philippines.
U.S. and Japanese aircraft and ships, as well as two Chinese frigates, searched for Hopkins.
“I offer my deepest condolences to the Sailor‘s family, friends, and the Stethem Steelworkers,” Destroyer Squadron 15 commander Capt. Jeffrey Bennett said.