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)
A sailor believed to have fallen overboard off Okinawa a week ago has been found alive and on the ship, officials with the U.S. 7th Fleet announced Thursday.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Peter Mims, a gas turbine systems technician, was discovered aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh as it patrolled the South China Sea — four days after the Navy called off an exhaustive search for him that spanned 5,500 square miles in the Philippine Sea.
Mims had been labeled missing since June 8. The Shiloh was about 180 miles east of Okinawa when he was determined to be gone. Shortly thereafter, the Navy launched a massive search, aided by ships from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Japan Coast Guard.
According to the release from the 7th Fleet, the crew of the Shiloh continued their search aboard the ship even after the ocean search was formally called off.
Officials did not immediately release information about the conditions under which Mims was found. But Navy Times, which first reported his discovery Thursday, said he was discovered in an engineering space.
Navy officials said the sailor will now be transferred to the carrier Ronald Reagan for a medical evaluation. After that, according to the release, a recommendation will be made for his follow-on care. It’s not clear if punitive actions are expected; officials have launched an investigation into the entire incident.
“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 of Carrier Strike Group 5 and Task Force 70, said in a 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,” he added.
According to information released by the Navy, Mims joined the service in February 2014 and had served aboard the Shiloh since August 2014. His awards included the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
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