Friday, November 30, 2001

Navy ends search for sailor
lost from Pearl Harbor-based ship

By Gregg K. Kakesako

After 50 hours of searching an area covering more than 3,500 nautical miles, the Navy yesterday suspended the search for a sailor lost from the Pearl Harbor-based destroyer USS Russell.

Petty Officer 2nd class Randy Glenn Whitaker, 44, was reported missing Tuesday 850 miles southwest of India.

Whitaker, of Trinidad, Texas, was an information systems technician who enlisted in the Navy in June 1988. He had been a member of the Russell's crew since June 2000.

He was last seen at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. At that time, the Russell, which left Pearl Harbor Oct. 25, was in the Indian Ocean en route to the Middle East on a six-month deployment.

The Russell, the guided-missile cruiser USS Vincennes, two SH-60B Seahawk helicopters and two Navy P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol aircraft searched for Whitaker, taking into account the area traveled between the time he was last seen and the time he was reported missing, as well as ocean currents. Seas were reported to be calm, with light winds.

The matter is under investigation.

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