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Navy identifies missing 5th Fleet sailor

The Navy identified Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Richard Saldana as the sailor missing from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln since the morning hours of July 17 while the ship operated in the Arabian Sea.

Saldana was first reported missing at about 6:30 a.m. local time, prompting the carrier to call a man overboard event in an initial attempt to locate him.

When attempts to find him on board failed, it was assumed he’d gone overboard.

An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from the Nightdippers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 5 lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln on July 8 while the warship was sailing the Arabian Sea. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tristan Kyle Labuguen/Navy)
Search ends for missing sailor

The sailor served in Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 5, the Norfolk-based World Famous Nightdippers.

A search at sea was started involving the carrier Lincoln along with the guided-missile cruiser Leyte Gulf, Patrol Squadrons 10 and 40 and the Spanish guided-missile frigate Méndez Núñez.

The search was called off two days later and the Navy continues to list the sailor as “Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown.”

Saldana is assigned to Lincoln’s embarked Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 5.

Saldana reported to the Norfolk-based Nightdippers on Sept. 19, according to his military records.

A native of Manassas, Virginia, he joined the Navy on April 8, 2015.

Initially in training for three months as a nuclear power sailor, Saldana switched to the aviation field and was assigned to the amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima in late 2015. He spent roughly three years on the Naval Station Mayport-based ship.

He reported to HSC-5 after completing advanced training in helicopter maintenance at the Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit in Norfolk last summer.

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