By Megan Mowery
WASHINGTON – A missing Navy sailor was found alive aboard a guided missile cruiser on Thursday following a week-long search for him in the Philippine Sea after he was presumed to have gone overboard June 8.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Peter Mims, 23, was thought to have fallen off USS Shiloh as it conducted routine operations 180 miles east of Okinawa, Japan. The event triggered a 50-hour search by the U.S. Navy with help from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japanese Coast Guard.
The ocean search was suspended at midnight on Sunday, but the crew of the Shiloh continued their search on board the vessel. The Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a statement that the circumstances surrounding Mims’ disappearance are under investigation.
“We are thankful to have found our missing shipmate and appreciate all the hard work of our Sailors and Japanese partners in searching for him,” Rear Adm. Charles Williams, commander, Carrier Strike Group 5 and Task Force 70, said in the statement. “I am relieved that this Sailor’s family will not be joining the ranks of Gold Star Families that have sacrificed so much for our country.”
The Navy Times, citing two unnamed officials, reported that Mims was found hidden in one of the engine rooms. The Navy said Mims will be transferred to the USS Ronald Reagan carrier for a medical evaluation.
Pacific Fleet spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Knight said any reprimand Mims faces will be determined by the command leadership depending on the investigation findings.
Mims’ disappearance would have been the second time in recent days that a Navy sailor has fallen overboard. Fire Controlman 2nd Class Christopher Clavin is thought to have fallen from the USS Normandy guided-missile cruiser 80 miles off the coast of North Carolina June 6. The Navy has since called off the search for Clavin.
Mims enlisted in the Navy in Feb. 2014 and reported to USS Shiloh that August. He is a Gas Turbines Systems Technician 3rd Class. He was last promoted in August 2015 and has earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon and Sea Service Ribbon.