Navy Identifies Sailor Lost at Sea from Carrier Lincoln

Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Saldana. (U.S. Navy photo)
Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Saldana. (U.S. Navy photo)

The Navy has released the identity of a sailor reported overboard from the carrier Abraham Lincoln while it operated in the Arabian Sea last week.

Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Richard Saldana was reported overboard July 17; following the conclusion of a multi-day search-and-rescue mission, he has been listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown, or DUSTWUN.

Saldana was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5, the "Nightdippers," an MH-60S Sea Hawk squadron out of Norfolk, Virginia. It's part of Carrier Air Wing 7, assigned to the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group.

According to NAVCENT officials, Saldana, a Virginia native, enlisted April 28, 2015 and was promoted to his current rank Feb. 16. He was on his first deployment, and the squadron was his first operational command.

After Saldana was reported overboard, the search effort quickly became an international collaboration. Navy guided-missile cruiser Leyte Gulf, Spanish frigate Méndez Núñez and Pakistan Navy frigate Aslat all contributed.

The Navy announced July 19 that is was ending the search after extensive efforts to find Saldana.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and shipmates of our lost Sailor," Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, head of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and 5th Fleet, said in a statement.

Saldana is the first U.S. service member lost at sea since August 2018, when a Marine from the amphibious assault ship Essex and a Navy officer from the guided-missile cruiser Lake Erie were lost overboard within weeks of each other during separate deployments in the Pacific.

-- Gina Harkins contributed to this report.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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