Peter Mims poses for a photo after being frocked to the rank of petty officer third class during a ceremony aboard the USS Shiloh May 25. (COURTESY PHOTO)
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A USS Shiloh sailor who was presumed lost at sea only to be found a week later in the ship’s engine room has been freed from the brig while awaiting court-martial.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Peter Mims, who served as a gas turbine systems technician on the Yokosuka-based guided-missile cruiser, was released Tuesday from the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Brig, said Lt. Paul Newell, a Navy spokesman.
The unit is “responsible for the training, maintenance and crews of the approximately 90 ships of the Pacific Fleet,” according to its website.
Officials did not specify why Mims was initially confined and later released. According to the Manual for Courts-Martial, service members facing court-martial can be placed in pretrial confinement for a number of reasons, including suspicion the service member may flee or engage in serious criminal misconduct while awaiting trial. Additional authority, including review by an outside party, is needed for a service member to be confined longer than seven days.
Mims was reported missing the evening of June 8 and was presumed to have fallen overboard the Shiloh, which was conducting routine operations near Okinawa.
Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Japan Coast Guard ships spent more than 50 hours searching for Mims, the Navy said. Helicopters and other aircraft from the Shiloh, USS McCampbell, USS Barry, USS John S. McCain and the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan assisted in the search before it was suspended June 11, with the presumption that he was lost at sea.
The Shiloh crew continued to search the ship after surface and air searches were canceled, and the crew was in the process of planning a memorial service for Mims when he was found in the ship’s engineering room June 15, Navy statements said.
Navy officials told Stars and Stripes in an earlier email that further details will be released pending an investigation but that early indications were that Mims was actively trying to avoid sailors who were searching for him.
The investigation is expected to conclude in mid-July.
Mims was presumed to have been the second sailor in a week to fall overboard from a ship. On June 6, Petty Officer Christopher Clavin of the USS Normandy was reported missing while the ship trained off the North Carolina coast. Navy and Coast Guard ships searched for him for more than 76 hours, officials said.
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