NORFOLK — The contractor who died Wednesday on board the guided-missile cruiser San Jacinto was Jason Minh Truong, 63, a Hampton resident and long-time employee of Paige Decking, the company told Navy Times.
“We’re still in the dark ourselves as to what happened and what we know is really secondhand,” Scott Paige, the vice president of Paige Decking. “Apparently a sailor found him outside and by the time our people got to the ship, the first responders were already there trying to revive him, but they were unsuccessful.”
According to Paige, Truong had been with his company for more than two decades and relocated with the firm from San Diego to Norfolk a dozen years ago.
The company specializes in removing and installing decks on board vessels and has worked on board 26 Navy ships, including three aircraft carriers, according to their website.
An expert at installing terrazzo decks on board Navy ships, Truong was sealing a deck when he died.
“We weren’t able to get on board after he died because they moved everyone off the ship almost immediately,” Paige said. “Everyone has been as cooperative as possible, but we’ve not been told anything officially, yet, and are awaiting word.”
Truong left behind a son in Los Angeles and relatives who still live in Vietnam, where he was born, Paige added.
Paige said Truong arrived in the United States “at the end of the Vietnam War” and heard that he’d “served in the South Vietnamese Army, too, though I’m not sure of the details."
Paige told Navy Times that an autopsy was scheduled for Friday by a “Naval Medical Examiner.”
Naval Criminal Investigative Service is leading the ongoing probe into Truong’s death but NCIS spokesman Ed Buice told Navy Times he couldn’t comment on it, except to add that the Navy wouldn’t do an autopsy his body.
“If that were the case, it would be done by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System as we don’t have any NCIS medical examiners,” Buice said.
Navy Times reached out to the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System for information but was directed back to NCIS.
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.