USS John S. McCain Sailors honored for damage control efforts following 2017 collision
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YOKOSUKA, Japan (July 10, 2019) Adm. John Aquilino, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, speaks to the crew of the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) during an awards ceremony at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. McCain was commissioned on July 2, 1994 in Bath, Maine and was originally named in honor of Admirals John S. McCain Sr. and Jr., in a rededication ceremony on July 12, 2018 the late Sen. John S. McCain III was officially added to the namesake. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William McCann)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - Fifty Sailors who distinguished themselves for their bravery and contributions to damage control efforts aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), were recognized in a ceremony aboard the ship, July 10.

“To commemorate on this ship what these men and women did is both notable and fitting, because the memory of their actions represent the toughness and pride of our Navy,” said Adm. John Aquilino, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “It also helps remind the next generation of Sailors the moral character, personal sacrifice, and selfless commitment required to not give up the ship.”

Aquilino, along with Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, presented medals to seven members of the McCain crew in attendance.

Those Sailors recognized during the event were: Lt. Aaron Van Driessche who received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Patat and Chief Damage Controlman Anthony Ebarb received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, while Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Electrical) 3rd Class Steven Osenbruk, Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Ethan Golston, Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Electrical) 2nd Class Thomas Neff, and Navy Counselor First Class Menh Luc each received the Navy Achievement Medal.

“This morning you will hear about a crew, that in the midst of chaos and calamity, displayed exceptional initiative, technical competence, teamwork, grit, determination, and an unconquerable spirit." said Cmdr. Ryan Easterday, commanding officer, USS John S. McCain. “Today is about publicly sharing the untold stories of heroism from the collision—the second, more positive half of a painful chapter in the ship’s history.”

Overall, Seven McCain Sailors were awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, 15 were awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, while 28 received the Navy Achievement Medal. The awards represent all those who distinguished themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement or meritorious service following the ship’s collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC Aug. 21, 2017.

One of McCain’s Ombudsmen, Lakela Granados was also honored for her actions providing counseling and support to the ship’s crew and families following the collision.

The collision claimed the lives of ten John S. McCain Sailors, and the crew fought back against progressive flooding across numerous spaces for hours on end. Facing constant peril from flooding, electrocution, structural damage and noxious fumes, these Sailors prevented further loss of life and ultimately saved the ship.

The list of personnel receiving awards is as follows:

Navy and Marine Corps Medal

LT Aaron Van Driessche

CWO3 Michael Calhoun

DC1 Justin Ramirez

DC1 Michael Cooper

GSM1 Delando Beckford

OS3 Malachi Shannon

SH2 Mark Williams

Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal

LT Michael Shofner

LTJG  Kathryn Hussey

LTJG Meghan Meriano

CWO2 Joshua Patat

GSCS Bryan Hayes

DCC Anthony Ebarb

DC1 Hosey Brooks

HM1 Alan Aaron

HM2 Justin Lam

HT2 Darwin Dunlap

MM1 Nicholas Healy

GSM2 Jonathan Spence

MM2 Joseph Ligon

DC3 Harley Peterson

ET2 Royce Black

Navy Achievement Medal

LTJG Glory Armentrout

LTJG Jordan Snitzer

LTJG Madelyn Ryden

LTJG Thomas Foster

ENS Daniel Coley

ENS James Brisotti

CSCS Donnel Robinson

PSC Philip Torio

CS1 Christopher Plowden

GSM1 Mark Winter, Jr.

MR1 John Ray, III

NC1 Menh Luc

DC2 Anthony Dana

EM2 Ethan Golston

EN2 Edwin Loredo

GSE2 Thomas Neff

GSM2 Yong Gao

HT2 Laurin Bynoe

MM2 Jorge Rivera

PS2 Jerrell Dean

BM3 Tevin Vassel

DC3 Christopher Christensen

DC3 Jeremy Snyder

EM3 Alejandro Alemanayala

GSE3 Steven Osenbruk

GSM3 Ivan Cruz

MM3 Elijah Swantkoski

EMFN Lashawn Kellom, Jr.

Superior Public Service Award

Lakela Granados

Kathleen Hoar

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