Navy Sailor Lost in Red Sea Deployment, Two Nominations for Air Force Major General Announced


The U.S. Navy has identified a Florida sailor who vanished last week and died while deployed in the Red Sea. The sailor was identified as Oriola Michael Aregbesola, 34, military officials said. Aregbesola was an aviation machinist's mate 2nd class and was stationed on the USS Mason in the Red Sea.

"Petty Officer Aregbesola fully embodied the selfless character and thoughtful warrior spirit of the United States Navy Sailor," Cmdr. Eric Kohut, HSM-74 commanding officer, said in a statement. "His outstanding performance prior to and during deployment went well beyond aircraft maintenance; he truly saw and valued every member of the ship/air team."

Aregbesola was supporting operations in the Red Sea when he went overboard on March 20, according to the U.S. Central Command. Further details were not immediately provided, but officials said search and recovery operations were carried out.

Aregbesola died as a result of a non-combat-related incident, the Department of Defense said in a statement. The incident is under investigation.

The death of Aregbesola is the latest involving U.S. service members deployed in areas in or near the Red Sea amid the Israel-Hamas war according to reporting in USA Today. In January, two Navy SEALs had vanished in the Arabian Sea during a nighttime boarding mission to seize an unflagged boat carrying illicit Iranian-made weapons to Yemen.

In other Department of Defense updates, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III announced this week that the president has made the following nominations:

Air Force Maj. Gen. Case A. Cunningham for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general, with assignment as commander, Alaskan Command, U.S. Northern Command; commander, Eleventh Air Force, Pacific Air Forces; and commander, Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Region. Cunningham is currently serving as commander, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Stephen F. Jost for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general, with assignment as commander, U.S. Forces Japan; and commander, Fifth Air Force, Pacific Air Forces, Yokota Air Base, Japan. Jost is currently serving as commander, Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, U.S. Transportation Command, Norfolk, Virginia.

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