NCIS investigate death of Vice Admiral Scott Stearney after the commander of the vitally strategic 5th Fleet ‘took his own life’
Vice Adm Stearney, 58, was found dead in his home in Bahrain on Saturday
Authorities treating death as apparent suicide, said that ‘no foul play’ is suspected
In May, Stearney was named commander of the Fifth Fleet, which oversees some of the most strategic waterways in the world
He had more than 20,000 sailors US and allied sailors under his command
Authorities have said that ‘no foul play’ is suspected in the death of Vice Admiral Scott Stearney, [photo], meaning the death of the Fifth Fleet commander was apparently a suicide
The United States Navy’s Criminal Investigative Service [NCIS], is investigating an apparent suicide by a three-star admiral who was in charge of the Fifth Fleet.
Vice Admiral Scott Stearney was found dead in his home in Bahrain on Saturday, the Navy’s chief of operations, Admiral John Richardson, said in a statement.
NCIS is conducting the investigation together with the Bahraini Ministry of Interior, according to Richardson.
‘This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at Fifth Fleet and for the entire Navy,’ Admiral John Richardson, chief of naval operations, said in a video statement.
‘Scott Stearney was a decorated Naval warrior. He was a devoted husband and father, and he was a good friend to all,’ the statement said.
Vice Admiral Scott Stearney, is seen above aboard the USS Jason Dunham, a guided-missile destroyer, in Manama, Bahrain in October
Stearney, 58, was the most senior officer who oversaw American naval operations in a critical part of the world that includes the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, and the Upper Indian Ocean.
Much of the world’s oil is exported through these sea lanes that span 2.5 million square miles, which are protected by the United States military, making it particularly sensitive.
Since taking up the post in May of this year, Stearney had under his command more than 20,000 sailors from the U.S. and and allied maritime forces.
‘I’m certain that it’s rattled the men and women on his staff and the sailors in the Fifth Fleet,’ retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, who was a State Department spokesperson, told CNN.
But, he added: ‘It won’t have an impact on their mission.’
Kirby said the Navy is sending a three-star admiral to serve as interim commander of the fleet.
That officer has been identified as Vice Admiral James Malloy, a deputy chief of naval operations, according to The New York Times.
Adm. Stearney flew the FA-18 Hornet amassing more than 4,500 mishap free flight hours and more than 1,000 carrier-arrested landings. He also served in Kabul, Afghanistan as chief of a joint task force.
Before Vice Admiral Malloy takes up the interim post, Rear Admiral Paul J. Schlise, the deputy commander of the Fifth Fleet, will temporarily assume the reins.
Stearney was a native of Chicago, Illinois. He earned a degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame before enlisting in the Navy in 1982.
He then became a fighter pilot, graduating from Navy Fighter Weapons School, which is more commonly known as TOP GUN.
Stearney also earned a degree from the National Defense University.
During his career, Stearney flew the FA-18 Hornet. He also served in Kabul, Afghanistan as chief of a joint task force.
During his career, he amassed more than 4,500 mishap free flight hours and more than 1,000 carrier-arrested landings, according to the Navy.