Brandon Forbes, U.S. Sailor, Found Dead at Naval Base

A sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was found dead on Friday morning at a naval base in Japan where the boat is based, Navy officials have said.

A spokesperson for USS Ronald Reagan identified the sailor as Seaman Brandon Forbes, 20, of Maple Heights, Ohio. He was a machinist's mate fireman who worked on the vessel's nuclear reactor department, Stars and Stripes reported. A machinist's mate is a rating in the U.S. Navy's engineering community.

In an email sent to the military news outlet, spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Dawn Stankus said Forbes had failed to report for duty and was considered absent without authorization for several days before Friday. When asked by Stars and Stripes where Forbes was found and when, she did not comment.

She said that someone phoned the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) about the body's location. Stankus declined to identify the caller.

Investigators discovered no immediate evidence of foul play, but the NCIS remains "heavily involved and invested in the situation", Stankus told Stars and Stripes. She said that USS Ronald Reagan's crew "remains focused on its missions" and will continue will the vessel's planned in-port maintenance.

Newsweek has contacted the Navy for comment on the incident.

Capt. Fred Goldhammer, USS Ronald Reagan commander, is expected to address his crew on Monday regarding Forbes' death.

"Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Machinist's Mate Fireman Brandon Forbes," Goldhammer said in a statement provided by Stankus. "He was an energetic young man who was dedicated to his duties and his shipmates onboard Ronald Reagan. The circumstances surrounding this unfortunate loss of life remain under investigation at this time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Brandon's family as we all grapple with this tragedy."

The USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear warship, was built in Newport News, Virginia, and was commissioned on July 12, 2003. When the ship was built, it was the first nuclear-powered warship to be named in honor of a living former president.

On June 26 this year, the ship was deployed to the Central Asia and the Middle East to help with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

It later returned to Japan where it is usually based.

In October, a North Carolina sailor died from complications related to COVID-19, the Navy announced. Senior Chief Master-at-Arms Michael Haberstumpf, 42, died on October 10 at the UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, after testing positive for the virus on September 2 and being hospitalized seven days later. He was the Navy's 15th sailor to die of complications related to the disease.

U.S. and Japan Carrier Drills In Pacific
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise steams in formation with the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan during exercises in the Western Pacific on May 29, 2021. A sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was found dead on Friday morning at a naval base where the boat is based, Navy officials said. Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael B. Jarmiolowski/U.S. Navy