The Navy has publicly identified an officer who went missing from the guided-missile cruiser Lake Erie in the eastern Pacific Ocean on Aug. 19.
The announcement came as no surprise because relatives of Lt. j.g. Asante K. McCalla identified the lost surface warfare officer in a series of Facebook posts last month.
Third Fleet spokesman Cmdr. John Fage said the Lake Erie’s commanding officer notified McCalla’s family on Thursday that she had reported the junior officer to the Navy as deceased “as required after someone has been absent for 10 days under these circumstances.”
In 2012, the Georgia native joined the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps at Atlanta’s Morehouse College and was commissioned four years later, according to military records released to Navy Times.
He reported to the Lake Erie in late 2016 and pinned on his current rank in May.
McCalla’s family did not return Navy Times requests for comment on Tuesday.
After he was reported missing on the morning of Aug. 19, a search by Navy and Coast Guard crews combed 16,550 square-nautical miles of open water before it was called off four days later.
McCalla’s mother, Alicia McCalla, posted a video to Facebook criticizing the Navy for failing to keep her family informed about the search, but later reported that communications improved.
In a Friday Facebook post, McCalla wrote that Navy officials told her and her husband that their son’s status had been shifted from missing to deceased.
“Our hearts are saddened but we are still strong,” she wrote.
The McCallas were preparing to leave their suburban Atlanta home for San Diego to collect their son’s effects and attend a memorial service, she added.
“We also will plan a Celebration of Life service in Georgia and plan to establish a scholarship fund in his name,” she wrote.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.