Top US Naval admiral in the Middle East found dead

Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, top admiral overseeing US Naval forces in the Middle East, found dead in Bahrain.

Tags: US Navy
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Scott Stearney
Scott Stearney

Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, the top admiral overseeing US Naval forces in the Middle East, was found dead in his residence in Bahrain on Saturday, the Navy said in a statement.

While his death is being investigated, officials say there is no evidence of foul play at this time, according to CNN.

"This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at Fifth Fleet, and for the entire Navy," Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, told CNN.

"Adm. Stearney was a decorated professional and a devoted father, a devoted husband and a good friend," he added.

"I'd just ask that everybody keep the Stearney family in their thoughts and prayers as they move through this and also maybe to respect their privacy as they navigate these very, very difficult waters," said Richardson.

Richardson said the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are cooperating in the investigation. He added that he was unaware of any investigations into Stearney.

The US Navy's Bahrain-based Naval Forces Central Command, which the Fifth Fleet is part of, oversees operations in areas like the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The command is seen as critical to US security interests given the challenges of Iran and Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, both of which the US sees as potential threats to shipping in the region.

The deputy commander of the Fifth Fleet, Rear Adm. Paul Schlise, has assumed acting command, Richardson said. He stressed that the Navy's "operations and responsibilities" in the region will continue uninterrupted.