— A Naval Submarine Base in Southern California has been ordered to turn over to investigators the children of two enlisted sailors killed in a crash last year, the base’s commanding officer said Thursday.
James B. Wintle, the commanding officer of Naval Submarines Base San Diego, said in a written statement that the family of Lt.
Col. Ryan H. Mears had been informed and the family had been told that a review would be conducted.
A Naval Safety Board report released Thursday said the Mears family had not been given notice of the review.
“The board has received a letter from the commanding officers of both the Navy and Marine Corps of the results of the safety review,” Wintles statement said.
In a separate statement, the Navy said the investigation had been “deliberately delayed” by the Mears family.
The Navy’s statement added that a Navy official had contacted the Mayses’ attorney to “express concern” about the delays in releasing the information.
The Navy said it had been notified by the family that a safety review was underway and had informed the families of the findings.
Wintles, the commander of Naval Surface Forces, said the family would be “reassured” of the outcome.
The investigation was conducted under a waiver that allowed for the disclosure of the information to the public, the statement said, but did not elaborate.
Hears was killed in January 2016 in the waters off the U.S. East Coast when the MV-22 Osprey he was flying lost its rudder and took off at high speed in a rough weather storm.
Marine Capt. David E. Dominguez, who commanded the MV22, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and other charges.
On Friday, Mears’ parents, James and Elizabeth, and their lawyer, Kevin L. Dukes, called the Navy’s action “deeply troubling.”
“This is a grave and shocking betrayal of the trust that the Mains have placed in our family and friends,” they said in an email to The Associated Press.
Mears was assigned to a submarine maintenance unit at Naval Subterranean Facility Norfolk, Virginia, which is in the Virginia Beach, Virginia area.
He had been stationed at the base since March 2015.
According to Navy records, Mear was born in New Jersey in 1962 and was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington, before moving to Naval Submersibles Base San Pedro, California.
His mother, Elizabeth, was stationed in Norfolk and was killed when she was killed while working as a child care attendant at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.
During his service, Mares served with the Naval Reserve, and in 2017, was promoted to captain.
He was stationed aboard the MV Gerald R. Ford from December 2017 through March 2018.