Missing Navy sailor on USS John McCain has ties to Fort Benning

FORT BENNING, Ga. — Ten sailors remain missing after the USS John McCain destroyer crashed into an oil tanker in Southeast Asia seas. One man has family waiting for him here in the Chattahoochee Valley.

Cynthia Kimball says her son, 20-year-old John “CJ” Hoagland, was one of the 10 sailors who went missing after Monday’s crash. Kimball and her husband, CJ’s stepfather, live on Fort Benning where he is stationed.

CJ’s family says they are hopeful he will be found, but they are also being realistic.

“[Hope] that we’ll hear something good… but it’s not very likely,” Kimball says in a phone interview.

She says her son was very excited to be stationed with the Navy near Singapore.

“He sends me all kinds of pictures of where he’s been and tries to keep me updates on the places they’ve gone – and he really loves it,” Kimball recalls.

She says after the accident, she expected a visit from the Navy, but it was still a huge shock to hear her little boy was missing.

“We knew they were coming, but that didn’t make it any easier. It confirmed that it was true,” Kimball says. “If something happens, you would expect it to be in combat. Not trying to get into port.”

The Navy announced Tuesday several bodies were found in the course of investigating the USS John McCain crash. Investigators cannot confirm the number of bodies found or identities at this time.

The Navy also confirms one of its fleet commanders has been relieved of duty after ships in his command suffered four accidents in Asia, resulting in the deaths of more than a dozen sailors this year.

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