U.S. Navy Identifies Sailor who Fell Overboard in Red Sea

(USNewsMag.com) – On March 23rd, Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Oriola Michael Aregbesola, 34, was identified by the U.S. Navy as the sailor who went overboard on March 20th off of the USS Mason while the ship was deployed in the Red Sea.

The Department of Defense announced that Aregbesola died after falling overboard, adding that the incident is under investigation.

According to military officials, the Miramar, Florida, resident was assigned to the USS Mason, deployed to the Red Sea in November 2023. A member of the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 74 “Swamp Foxes,” he joined the Navy in July 2020 and became a member of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 74 in December 2020.

HSM-74 commanding officer Cmdr. Eric Kohut said that Aregbesola’s “outstanding performance extended “well beyond aircraft maintenance,” adding that he “valued every member” of the team.

The U.S. Navy was deployed to the Red Sea by President Joe Biden after the Yemen-based Houthi rebels began attacking commercial ships in the region after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th as a show of solidarity with the Palestinians. Trade between Europe and Asia has slowed due to the attacks on ships along the busy trade route.

Since being deployed in November, the USS Mason, part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group deployed in the area where the U.S. 5th Fleet is operating, has defended ships from the drone and ballistic missile attacks the Houthis have launched on commercial ships.

According to the U.S. Central Command deputy commander Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, nearly 7,000 U.S. Navy sailors are stationed aboard ships in the area of the Red Sea.

Aregbesola is not the first member of the U.S. Navy to die while on deployment in the Red Sea. Two Navy SEALs went missing in January during a nighttime mission to seize a boat carrying a shipment of Iranian weapons that were bound for Yemen.

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