Halethorpe sailor among those killed in collision

Posted at 10:54 AM, Jun 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-20 07:01:48-04

The Navy identified 24-year-old Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin of Halethorpe, as one of the seven sailors killed when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the Japanese coast Saturday.

The sailors' bodies were later found inside the wreckage.

RELATED: Japan investigates delay in reporting US Navy ship collision

The ACX Crystal collided with the USS Fitzgerald off Japan's coast, killing seven of the destroyer's crew of nearly 300. The ships collided early Saturday morning, when the Navy said most of the 300 sailors on board would have been sleeping. Authorities have declined to speculate on a cause while the crash remains under investigation.

Martin's father, Darrold, spoke of his relationship with his son.

"He touched everyone's life, everyone. I get it. Every parent loves their kid, you know, I get that. They want them to shine. He was exceptional. He was exceptional," Darrold said. 

The two got matching tattoos last month that read, "We'll figure it out."

It's a phrase that Darrold said sums up he and his son's relationship.

"All while I was dealing with everything, before I got the final word, all I was doing was rubbing it, 'We'll Figure it Out,'" Darrold said. 

A mantra that's turned to comfort as Darrold learned of his son's fate. 

The father says Xavier was exceptional, not only with family and friends, but in his line of work rising in rank quickly, gaining the respect of those around him. 

"He was a supervisor and it was his team. He went down with his team. He went down with his team," he said. 

A painful, yet prideful, thought as the dad now comes to terms with losing his only son. 

He says his coincidental reminder is now his permanent tribute as he looks to both his forearm and the sky to 'figure it out.'

"My mom when I was talking to her yesterday, she's crying, she said, 'I'm so glad you got that tattoo now because he did it to honor you, and you did it to honor him," Darrold said.

The victims were,

  • 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
  • Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas
  • Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California
  • Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland
  • Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio

The Associated Press contributed to this report.