The US Navy has charged the sailor who was presumed to be lost at sea but was later found hiding on board.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Peter Mims, a gas turbine systems technician on the USS Shiloh, was charged with abandoning watch and dereliction of duty, the US Navy said Tuesday.
Mims went missing on June 8, while the Shiloh was conducting routine operations 180 miles east of Okinawa, Japan. His disappearance prompted a massive search involving both American and Japanese ships scouring 5,500 square miles of the Philippine Sea over a span of 50 hours.
Mims never left the ship and was found by his shipmates hiding in an engineering space. He actively took steps to avoid detection, Lt. Paul Newell, a spokesman for the Navy’s 7th Fleet told CNN.
“…Peter Mims admitted his week-long disappearance was intentional,” he said. “And that he had taken steps to avoid being found by other Shiloh sailors who were actively attempting to locate him.”
Newell said Mim’s non-judicial punishment, officially known in the Navy as an “Admiral’s Mast,” was carried out, “due to the seriousness of the incident and the impact it had on the entire strike group and our Japanese allies.”
It is not clear why Mims hid from his sail mates or how long he was planning on hiding.
Rear Adm. Charles Williams, commander of the carrier strike group that includes the USS Shiloh, called Mim’s discovery in June a relief to the Navy community.
“I am relieved that this sailor’s family will not be joining the ranks of Gold Star Families that have sacrificed so much for our country,” he said.
Newell said Mims’ actions violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s Article 86, abandoning watch and Article 92, dereliction in the performance of duties.
The Navy is also considering additional administrative punishment for the incident.