The US Marine whose disappearance prompted a huge search operation in Philippine waters has been declared dead and identified.
Corporal Jonathan Currier, a native of New Hampshire, went overboard from the USS Essex on the morning of Thursday, August 9, while the ship was conducting routine operations off the coast of the Philippines.
“Our hearts go out to the Currier family,” commanding officer Colonel Chandler Nelms said. “Corporal Currier’s loss is felt by our entire ARG/MEU family, and he will not be forgotten.”
Currier enlisted in the US Marine Corps in August 2015 and graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Paris Island, several months later.
At the time of his disappearance, he had been deployed with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 166 Reinforced, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), aboard the Essex.
The five-day search for Currier, assisted by the US Navy, the US Embassy in the Philippines and the Philippine Coast Guard, spanned 13,000 square nautical miles of the Sulu Sea, Mindanao Sea and the Surigao Strait.
“All of our Marines and Sailors demonstrated a tremendous resilience and put forth an extraordinary effort over the past five days,” Col. Nelms said. “Our thoughts and prayers have been and will continue to be with our Marine’s family during this difficult time.”
Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing.
As we have previously reported, the Philippine government granted full access to its territorial waters in support of the five-day search and rescue mission.
US Navy Captain Gerald Olin, who led the search mission, said: “We appreciate the continued support provided to us from the US Embassy and Philippine Government.”
Col. Nelms added: “I am humbled by the teamwork and professionalism displayed by all involved to find our Marine.”
The 844-foot long USS Essex can transport and support a team of more than 2,000 Marines during an assault by air or land.
It departed from its home port in San Diego, California, on July 10 for a Western Pacific and Middle East deployment, as part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group.
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