Third American Marine dies on Okinawa

UPDATE, Friday, May 25: Fire broke out on a U.S. amphibious dock landing ship in Tokyo Bay in the early hours of Friday morning after a crew of about 55 were awoken by a blast from a powerful heat source as they removed static electricity from their caps. None of those on board are injured, the fleet said in a statement. Local fire trucks rushed to the scene but the ship was able to divert and return to base safely.

More details are being kept under wraps. Japanese officials did release a statement this morning that its officials were conducting a “thorough investigation” into the cause of the fire. Read more here.


Another American serviceman was killed Thursday in the center of Okinawa, Japan, as police said he was swept out to sea while snorkeling.

The Marine, identified as 2nd Lt. John Lee, 28, had gone to search for turtles on the coast of Okinawa’s Kikuchi area. He left a public beach around 1:30 p.m. Thursday morning after going for a swim with other servicemen. He disappeared while submerged in the water and was later found swept out to sea near the area.

Police said the circumstances surrounding the incident were unclear. It remains unclear if Lee was swept away by current or if he drowned. Police suspect he died. They informed his family around 6 p.m. local time. Local broadcaster Yomiuri TV reported Lee’s body was recovered at around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. He was pulled from the water around an hour after entering it.

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Lee was born in Pennsylvania and enlisted in the Marine Corps in December of 2009.

The vessel Lee was on was the DDG-51 John Paul Jones, a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter in the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

Japan’s coast guard said two of its boats rescued the Marines from the water.

Lee is survived by his wife, two young children and parents.

More on the incident here.

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