‘We remain hopeful’: Family says as recovery efforts continue for missing SA sailor’s remains

The U.S. Navy ended the search and rescue efforts for the sailor on Saturday

FILE - In this March 18, 2020 file photo provided by the U.S. Navy, an F/A-18F Super Hornet launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in the western North Pacific Ocean. The U.S. Navy announced Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020 that it has called off search and rescue efforts for a 20-year-old sailor who reportedly fell overboard earlier this week from the USS Theodore Roosevelt, KGTV News reported. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nicholas V. Huynh/U.S. Navy via AP) (Petty Officer 3Rd Class Nicholas)

The U.S. Navy announced Saturday that it has called off search and rescue efforts for a 20-year-old sailor, from San Antonio, who reportedly fell overboard last week from the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

The Navy said in a statement it ended the effort at sunset Saturday after it searched more than 607 square nautical miles for more than 55 hours off the coast of Southern California. The Navy has declared the soldier, identified as Ethan Goolsby, deceased.

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Goolsby’s family issued this statement Sunday afternoon, saying although the search and rescue efforts have ended, the recovery efforts for Ethan’s remains are ongoing.

“Our family, the family of Ethan Goolsby, would like to extend our most heartfelt thanks for the countless gestures of love and support during this most tragic time in our lives. Eric J. Anduze, Captain and Commanding Officer of USS Theodore Roosevelt contacted us last night (12/12/20) to notify us that the U.S. Navy would be suspending their search for Ethan and that our son is now considered “dead, lost at sea” effective 12/10/2020. He stated that the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard and their supports would continue to remain vigilant for a probable recovery of our son’s remains. Our local Navy Casualty Assistance Calls Officer also informed us of the same, in person, shortly after our call with Captain Anduze.

We are grateful for the search and recovery efforts related to us by the U.S. Navy. We remain hopeful that they will continue to search for our only son’s remains. Ethan was very proud of the U.S. Navy and the service he was providing to our country. The family would like to have his body recovered so that a proper burial can be held in his honor.

At this time, we have been informed that there are two ongoing investigations by NCIS and Line of Duty. We also understand that those investigations will take time and answers will not be immediate. We trust through this difficult process, that the U.S. Navy will remain transparent and will communicate effectively and regularly with any and all new investigation information as it develops.

Military service is a tradition in the Goolsby family and Ethan was eager to join the U.S. Navy. And, after more than a year in his Naval career, Ethan was excited to be finally starting a deployment, his first. The U.S. Navy helped make him into a more self-assured, thoughtful, and diligent young man. We want people to remember Ethan’s kind heart, warm sense of humor, his desire to serve his country, and all other aspects of his short life. He aspired to one day become a U.S. Navy Officer and we take solace that he died while engaged in the career that he envisioned for his future. While his promise has been cut short, he will always be loved by his family and remembered fondly by those who knew him.”

The search started Thursday morning after a lookout spotted what appeared to be a person in the water, a statement from the San Diego-based 3rd Fleet said. Three helicopters and a boat were launched in response, and one sailor was unaccounted for during a command-wide muster, the statement said.

“The loss of our Sailor is felt deeply by all on board,” said Capt. Eric Anduze, commanding officer of Theodore Roosevelt. “The entire Theodore Roosevelt team sends our deepest condolences to the family of our missing shipmate.”

Rear Admiral Doug Verissimo, commander of Carrier Strike Group Nine, said the strike group “sends our thoughts and prayers to the family and loved ones of our missing shipmate. I offer my thanks to all the Sailors and Coast Guardsmen who were involved in the search,” KGTV reported.

Read more:

‘We are holding out hope for a miracle’: Family says after SA sailor reported missing off California coast

Navy searching for missing San Antonio sailor off Southern California coast

About the Authors:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.