Neighbors remember Hampton sailor killed in collision

Gary Rhem was among seven sailors killed aboard the U- S- S Fitzgerald after navy divers found their bodies in the flooded destroyer.

HAMPTON, Va. (WVEC) -- One of the seven sailors killed when the USS Fitzgerald collided with another ship, is from Hampton.

Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr. was set to retire in a few months. The navy said Rehm was from Ohio, but he lived in Hampton with his wife.

Many questions remain following Saturday's deadly collision between the destroyer and a container ship off the coast of Japan.

According to Navy officials, the ACX Crystal made a U-turn minutes before slamming into the Fitzgerald where hundreds of sailors slept.

The bodies of the seven crew members who died, their ages ranging from 19 to 37, were found by Navy divers after the warship returned to Yokosuka, Japan, home to the Navy's 7th fleet.

The bodies left Tokyo on a flight on Tuesday.

The Navy said the three sailors who were injured in the collision have been released from a Navy hospital.

Rehm’s neighbors are at a loss for words. Barry Lowe is neighbors with the Rehm’s. Lowe says this is a huge loss for the community.

“It hurts, especially when you form a bond with somebody,” Lowe says. “Anytime anyone in the neighborhood needed help he was there.”

Kristi Jackson lives across the street from the Rehm's. She remembers the relationship she had with the young couple.

“He's helped me more times than I can count,” Jackson says. “He was an awesome neighbor to have.”

Japan coast guard officials are investigating why it took nearly an hour for anyone to report the collision.

Officials are not speculating on the cause of the crash. It is unclear whether there were any warning signs before the collision.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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