US Fifth Fleet commander found dead in Bahrain

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Scott Stearney commander U.S. Naval Forces Central Command

Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the U.S. Fifth Fleet, was found dead Saturday in his residence in Bahrain, U.S. military officials said.

No foul play is suspected, but the cause of death remained under investigation, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said.

Defense Department sources told CBS News the death was “an apparent suicide.”

“This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at Fifth Fleet and the entire Navy,” Richardson said, according to NavyTimes. “He was a good friend to all of us.”

Stearney, a native of Chicago, served as operations director for the U.S. Central Command before taking on the leadership of the Fifth Fleet in May, the NavyTimes report said.

He oversaw U.S. naval operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, including safeguarding the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Red Sea, the New York Times reported. Stearney joined the Navy in 1982 after graduating from the University of Notre Dame, the report said.

Stearney’s Fifth Fleet duties are being assumed by Rear Adm. Paul Schlise, the fleet’s deputy commander.

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

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are in charge of the investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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