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Marine Corps says New Hampshire native fell overboard and is presumed dead

By DOUG ALDEN
New Hampshire Union Leader

August 19. 2018 10:12PM
Marine Cpl. Jonathan Currier of Hampton fell overboard from the amphibious assault ship USS Essex in the Philippines. (U.S. NAVY)

HAMPTON — The U.S. Marine Corps says a Marine who fell overboard in the Philippines and was lost at sea is from New Hampshire.

Cpl. Jonathan Currier of Hampton was reported missing from the USS Essex on Aug. 9 at 9:40 a.m., according to a news release from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

“Our hearts go out to the Currier family,” Col. Chandler Nelms, commanding officer of the 13th, said in the news release. “Cpl. Currier’s loss is felt by our entire ARG/MEU (Amphibious Ready Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit) family, and he will not be forgotten.”

Currier, who joined the Marines in 2015 after graduating from Winnacunnet High School, was a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crew chief aboard the Essex.

At the time he was reported missing, the Essex was crossing the Sulu Sea west of the Philippines.

That prompted a round-the-clock search covering more than 13,000 nautical square miles of the Sulu Sea, the Mindanao Sea and the Surigao Strait, with U.S. aircraft performing more than 110 flights over five days, the Marine Corps said in a statement.

The extensive search was called off Aug. 13 and Currier’s status was changed from whereabouts unknown to deceased on Friday.

Currier enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 2015 and graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., in November of that year, according to the news release. He completed School of Infantry at Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Aviation and A&C School in Pensacola, Fla.; and Center for Naval Aviation Training in Jacksonville, N.C.

Currier was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service, according to the news release

During the search, the Marines received additional help from the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, U.S. Coast Guard and government of Singapore, Marine officials said. U.S. personnel searched using high-powered binoculars aboard ships and from helicopters and P-8 reconnaissance planes overhead.

“Only after exhausting every possibility through persistent and thorough search efforts, we have concluded the at-sea search and rescue effort for our Marine,” said Capt. Gerald Olin, commander of the Navy squadron involved. “We appreciate the continued support provided to us from the U.S. Embassy and the Philippines government.”

Nelms said in the statement that the Marines demonstrated “tremendous resilience and put forth an extraordinary effort over the five days.” He was humbled, he said, by the teamwork and professionalism of the Marines and sailors involved in the search.

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Information from The Washington Post was used in this report.


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