US Fifth Fleet commander found dead in Bahrain residence, suicide suspected

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A handout photo made available by the US Marine Corps shows US Navy Vice Adm. Scott A. Stearney delivers remarks during a change of command ceremony in Bahrain, July 03, 2018. (EPA Photo)
A handout photo made available by the US Marine Corps shows US Navy Vice Adm. Scott A. Stearney delivers remarks during a change of command ceremony in Bahrain, July 03, 2018. (EPA Photo)

The commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the U.S. Fifth Fleet has been found dead in his residence in Bahrain.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson says Vice Adm. Scott Stearney was found dead Saturday.

Richardson says the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are investigating the death, but foul play is not suspected.

Rear Adm. Paul Schlise, the deputy commander of the Fifth Fleet, has taken over Stearney's duties.

Richardson described Stearney as a decorated naval warrior, a devoted husband and father, and a good friend.

Meanwhile, according to defense officials quoted by CBS News, Stearney was found dead of "apparent suicide."

The Chicago native entered the U.S. Navy in 1982 after graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in economics. He later obtained a master's degree from the National Defense University.

He served in several strike fighter squadrons flying the FA-18 Hornet and served in Kabul, Afghanistan, as chief of staff of Joint Task Force 435 and later Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435.

In the U.S., Stearney served in various roles, including as instructor and readiness officer at Navy Fighter Weapons School, according to his official biography. He also held various senior posts, including as director of operations at U.S. Central Command.

The Fifth Fleet includes the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

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