USS Mason Sailor Who Went Overboard in Red Sea Declared Lost by Navy

MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter
An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, attached to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7, takes off from the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) in the Red Sea, Feb. 8, 2024. (Official U.S. Navy photo)

A Navy sailor who went overboard while on a destroyer in the Red Sea last week was declared lost on Saturday, the service said in a statement.

Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Oriola Michael Aregbesola, who was aboard the USS Mason, went overboard on March 20, according to the Navy.

Aregbesola was assigned to the "Swamp Foxes" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 74, which was embarked on the Mason. The ship has been operating in the Red Sea alongside the Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group.

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According to the Navy's statement, Aregbesola was a Florida native who joined the service in July 2020. He reported to his squadron in December 2020.

An Instagram post from the squadron shows that he was promoted to petty officer second class last June.

"Petty Officer Aregbesola fully embodied the selfless character and thoughtful warrior spirit of the United States Navy sailor," Cmdr. Eric Kohut, the squadron's commander, said in the Navy statement.

"He will continue on in the heart of every Swamp Fox and our brothers and sisters in the Ike carrier strike group," Kohut added.

A defense official told on Monday that the search for Aregbesola included not just the Mason but other elements from the carrier strike group, including the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The official wasn't able to offer any insight as to how Aregbesola went overboard and said that an investigation is ongoing.

In its own statement, the Pentagon called the death "a result of a non-combat related incident."

Without witnesses, it may be difficult for the Navy to definitively determine what led to Aregbesola falling into the water.

The reasons behind most sailor overboard incidents, which unfortunately occur with some regularity, remain unknown.

Aregbesola is not the first sailor to go overboard in the past several months, either.

In January, two Navy SEALs went overboard and were later declared lost while attempting to board a ship that was discovered to be carrying Iranian missile components.

The Mason is part of a large Navy presence off the coast of Yemen. They have been defending merchant shipping in the area from Houthi missiles and drones that the rebels say they have been launching in solidarity with Hamas and its conflict with Israel.

Related: Navy SEALs Who Died in Mission Interdicting Weapons Headed to Houthis Are Identified

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