North Texas Family Remembers Navy Sailor Who Died in Collision at Sea

While investigators try to figure out what caused a deadly collision between a U.S. Navy destroyer and a Philippine cargo ship off the coast of Japan, the North Texas family of one of the crew members who died has their own questions they want answered.

Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, of Weslaco, was one of seven sailors who died in the collision aboard the USS Fitzgerald.

"He was just an excellent example of what a young man should be," said Hernandez's cousin, Aly Hernandez-Singer, who lives in Fort Worth. "He loved this country and he wanted to prove that."

Hernandez-Singer remembered her cousin as a boy who loved ROTC and became a man when he joined the Navy.

The collision happened while the USS Fitzgerald was conducting routine operations off the coast of Japan. A Philippine cargo ship made a u-turn and collided with the Fitzgerald, causing it to take on water.

"I find it very hard to believe that these two ships with high navigational technology, this ship just decided to make a right turn out of nowhere into our ship," Hernandez-Singer questioned. "I mean, they had to know where they were going. So I'm just very confused. I think it's senseless."

The cause of the crash is still under investigation by the Japanese coast guard and U.S. Navy.

The other deceased sailors were identified as The deceased are Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia; Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, California; Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut; Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlosvictor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California; Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland; and Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio.

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