Navy ends search for sailor who went overboard the USS Normandy

Christopher Woodlock Clavin (Photo courtesy U.S. Fleet Forces Command)

CHERRY POINT, N.C. (WAVY) — The Navy and Coast Guard crews have ended the search for a sailor who went overboard the Norfolk-based guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60).

The Normandy was conducting training 80 miles off the coast of Cherry Point, North Carolina on Tuesday when personnel saw Fire Controlman 2nd Class Christopher Woodlock Clavin fall into the water at about 3 p.m.

An immediate man overboard call went out and a massive search and rescue response ensued. The USS Normandy, aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) with four embarked helicopters, U.S. Coast Guard medium endurance cutter Forward (WMEC 911) and the guided missile destroyers USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) and USS Mason (DDG 87) all assisted in the search. Additional Navy and Coast Guard aircraft helped as well.

The team covered roughly 6,300 square miles in the 76 hours they spent searching.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our shipmate, Petty Officer Chris Clavin. He was an important part of the team and a friend to so many on board,” said Capt. Derek Trinque, commanding officer of USS Normandy. “We are not alone in our grief. Our hearts and thoughts are also with Chris’s mother, sister and his entire family.”

Clavin’s mother, Theresa Iafrate, spoke to The Providence Journal on Thursday and said her 23-year-old son graduated from Lincoln High School and went straight into the Navy. The Navy says Clavin enlisted in 2012.

“Our thoughts are with our lost shipmate, his family, and the officers and crew of USS Normandy,” said Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces.

The Normandy crew plans on holding a memorial service for Clavin.

The Navy is investigating the incident.