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Conn. sailor who died in USS McCain collision remembered as quiet student, excellent runner

By Christine Dempsey
The Hartford Courant

August 31. 2017 12:14AM

Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Doyon, 26, from Suffield, Conn., was stationed aboard the USS John S. McCain when it collided with a merchant vessel in waters near Singapore and Malaysia last week. Doyon died in the collision. (U.S. Navy/Reuters)

As a high school student, Dustin Doyon of Suffield, Conn., was “quiet” and “reserved,” one of his social studies teachers said Monday. But he had a strong statement to make about a school project involving his military dad.

Electronics Technician 3rd Class Doyon said he’d never forget the project, Leslie Perreault, a former teacher at Cathedral High School in Chicopee, Mass., said Monday.

Doyon graduated from Cathedral in 2009 and enlisted in the Navy in April 2015. The 26-year-old was one of the 10 sailors killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore last week.

A runner, he was undefeated in every race in which he participated, said Paul Harrington, another high school official.

“During his time at Cathedral High School, Dustin was a member of the varsity indoor track team, the varsity cross-country team, and the varsity spring track team,” Harrington said. “He was a great inspiration to his classmates and teammates. As a runner, Dustin qualified for Western Mass. ... and went undefeated in every race he participated in.”

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our former student, Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Doyon, aboard the USS John S. McCain,” he added. “We offer our heartfelt sympathies to Dustin’s family and friends and the entire United States Navy during this difficult time.”

Perreault said Doyon was “quiet” and “reserved” in her Holocaust and Human Rights class. But he had something to say after he participated in the class’s veterans history project, for which students interviewed local veterans.

A combination photo showing (from L to R, top) Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith, Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, Electronics Technician 3rd Class John Henry Hoagland III, Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, Electronics Technician 3rd Class Jacob Daniel Drake, (from L to R, bottom) Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckles Jr., Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell, Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Abraham Lopez and Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley, who was stationed aboard the USS John S. McCain when it collided with a merchant vessel in waters near Singapore and Malayasia, Aug. 21, are shown in these undated photos provided Aug. 24. (U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS)

Even then, Doyon was a “proud supporter of the military,” Perreault said. He selected his father, a U.S. Navy Seabee who worked in security at Camp David, as his subject. Seabees are Navy members who construct buildings, bases and roads.

“Dustin was very honored to be able to sit with his dad and record his time in the Navy. At the time, he stated, ‘I’ll remember (this) forever...’” she said.

The collision involving the USS John S. McCain was the second major incident in two months involving the Pacific-based 7th Fleet, and the Navy has ordered a broad investigation into its performance and readiness. Seven sailors died in June when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship collided in waters off Japan. 

Ngoc T. Truong Huynh of Watertown, Conn., was among the sailors killed in the June collision.

There were two lesser-known incidents in the first half of the year.

On Monday, the town of Suffield’s Facebook page posted that those who wish to share their sympathies with the Doyon family should do so by sending cards or messages to First Selectman Melissa Mack’s office at 83 Mountain Road in Suffield.


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