Family calls Illinois sailor who died in USS McCain collision ‘our pride and joy’
(Photo: US 7th Fleet Public Affairs)

The family of a Navy sailor from Decatur, IL who died after his ship was involved in a collision near Singapore last week said he was “our pride and joy” and “a loving and wonderful young man.”

Petty Officer 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, who had been reported missing after the collision between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker, was one 10 sailors confirmed dead Sunday by the Navy.

Palmer, 23, was an interior communications electrician and received a National Defense Service Medal, according to his Navy personnel file.

Navy and Marine Corps divers have recovered the remains of all the sailors who went missing after the Aug. 21 collision, and the cause is still under investigation.

In a statement issued through the Navy, Palmer’s family said “Logan was our youngest son and like his older brothers and younger sister, our pride and joy. He was a loving and wonderful young man, a great little brother and a cool big brother.”

“He loved his family dearly and was committed to making the Navy a career and was excited about the adventures the Navy would offer him,” the statement read. “He also cared for his shipmates and we are incredibly proud of him and his service to our Navy and the country. We are heartbroken with the news and will miss him tremendously. We are so very thankful God gave us 23 amazing years with him and we will cherish those memories for the rest of our lives.”

The statement continued: “As we mourn the loss of our son and brother, we would like extend our appreciation to so many people, especially our church and the community who have been supporting us since we first learned of the accident. We are also thankful to the United States Navy for their continued support and are thinking of the brave crew of USS John S. McCain who are still dealing with a terrible situation.

“We ask everyone to keep the families and friends of those affected by this terrible tragedy in your thoughts and prayers. With God’s grace we will get through this.

“As you can imagine, this is a very difficult time for our family and we respectfully request that you honor our privacy.”

The family noted that Palmer achieved the rank of Eagle scout and was active in his church.

Palmer is a 2012 graduate of Sangamon Valley High School in Niantic, just west of Decatur, according to Superintendent Bob Meadows. He also graduated from Richland Community College in May 2015.

Last week, Palmer’s cousin Bekah Tucker said family and friends are supporting each other by going to his mother’s house to help out so she can focus on Logan and pray.

Tucker spoke of her cousin always laughing and smiling and “just enjoying life.” She said he used to build huge bonfires, and she recalled sharing holidays at their grandmother’s house, where “he and I would sit back and watch everyone and talk about the future.”

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, a Republican from Taylorville whose district includes the Decatur area, issued the following statement on his Facebook page:

“This is the terrible news that we were all hoping and praying the Palmer family would not receive. It is a grave reminder of the risks our servicemembers and their families take on each day. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with Logan’s family, friends, and shipmates during this difficult time. We will never forget the service and sacrifice of Petty Officer Logan Palmer and the others aboard the USS John S. McCain. It’s now on our military to make the changes necessary to minimize incidents like this and protect those who risk their lives each day in service to our country. I will do everything I can to ensure this incident is thoroughly investigated and the readiness and safety of our troops remains our top priority.”

The victims ranged in age from 20 to 39 years old and came from eight U.S. states. Along with Palmer, they were:

— Charles Nathan Findley, 31, Electronics Technician 1st Class, from Amazonia, Missouri

— Abraham Lopez, 39, Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class, from El Paso, Texas

— Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, Electronics Technician 2nd Class, from Gaithersburg, Maryland

— Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, Electronics Technician 2nd Class, from Cable, Ohio

— Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class, from Manchester, Maryland

— Corey George Ingram, 28, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class, from Poughkeepsie, New York

— Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, Electronics Technician 3rd Class, from Suffield, Connecticut

— John Henry Hoagland III, 20, Electronics Technician 3rd Class, from Killeen, Texas

— Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, Electronics Technician 3rd Class, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey

By Grace Wong, Chicago Tribune

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