A tearful plea in search for missing sailor

The presumed mother of a sailor missing off the coast of California since Sunday makes a heartfelt plea to the Navy for information on the search efforts.

Claiming to be the mother of the sailor who went missing aboard the cruiser Lake Erie this weekend, a woman identified him Tuesday morning in a Facebook video and chastised the Navy for failing to share more information about his disappearance.

Identifying herself as Alicia McCalla and a Marine Corps veteran, she holds a large, framed photo of a young man in uniform who she says is Lt. j.g. Asante McCalla.

“Help us by either praying or help us by letting the Navy know that we’ve got to know what has happened to Lt. j.g. McCalla,” she said.

Visibly upset in the footage, she said the family learned more about his disappearance and ongoing rescue operations from “newspaper accounts” than the Navy.

“The Navy Times has been given more information than we have been given about the missing or disappearance of our son,” she said.

A woman named Alicia McCalla said Tuesday on Facebook that a cruiser Lake Erie sailor missing at sea since Sunday is her son, Lt. j.g. Asante McCalla. (Photo courtesy Alicial McCalla)
A woman named Alicia McCalla said Tuesday on Facebook that a cruiser Lake Erie sailor missing at sea since Sunday is her son, Lt. j.g. Asante McCalla. (Photo courtesy Alicial McCalla)

Cmdr. John Fage, a 3rd Fleet spokesman in California, declined to confirm the missing sailor’s identity Tuesday afternoon but insisted search and rescue efforts by Navy and Coast Guard crews continue.

The sailor was reported missing around 7 a.m. Sunday. The Lake Erie, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, had been operating with the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group off the California coast when the sailor disappeared.

Fage said he was aware of the video but had not seen it and declined to comment further.

In her Facebook video, McCalla urged friends to help prod the Navy to release more information.

“I need to get updates from someone in positions of power to let me know what they have done to find my child,” she said. “I would like it if someone can contact us as the parents to help us to understand what has occurred, and why my child is missing.”

A librarian, McCalla did not respond to requests for comment by Navy Times but she and the sailor’s father, Howard McCalla, were interviewed at their home by Atlanta TV station WXIA on Tuesday.

An assistant high school principal, he said sailors came to their door to inform the family that their son, a graduate of Morehouse College, had been lost at sea, which was confusing because “we had just spoken to him.”

Mrs. McCalla told WXIA that she assumed Navy leaders in San Diego would update family members on the search but they had heard nothing.

She described the young officer as a good swimmer and a practicing Christian.

“I am already heartbroken. My son is a strong boy. He’s a caring boy. My husband and I are both wearing our Morehouse parent pins,” she said.