Stearney was the commander of the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet. Rear Adm. Paul Schlise, the deputy commander of the 5th Fleet, has assumed command, the Navy said in a statement.
“This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at 5th Fleet, and for the entire U.S. Navy,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said. “Scott Stearney was a decorated Naval warrior. He was a devoted husband and father, and he was a good friend to all.”
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are investigating Stearney’s death, the Navy said, but foul play is not suspected.
Stearney, a native of Chicago, joined the Navy in 1982 after graduating from the University of Notre Dame, according to his official biography. He became an aviator in 1984 and flew the FA-18 Hornet in several fighter squadrons and logged more than 4,500 “mishap free” hours of flight.
Previously the director of operations for U.S. Central Command, Stearney became commander of the 5th Fleet in May 2018, relieving Vice Adm. John C. Aquilino.
The 5th Fleet operates in the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean, including the critical strategic choke points of the Strait of Hormuz and the Suez Canal.
Iran To Continue Missile Tests In US Defiance
Iran said on Sunday it would continue missile tests to build up its defences and denied this was in breach of UN resolutions following US allegations that Tehran had tested a new missile capable of carrying multiple warheads.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday condemned what he called Iran’s testing of a medium-range ballistic missile in violation of the 2015 international agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme, from which Washington has withdrawn.
“Missile tests … are carried out for defence and the country’s deterrence, and we will continue this,” Brigadier-General Abolfazl Shekarchi, spokesman for Iran’s armed forces, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
“We will continue to both develop and test missiles. This is outside the framework of [nuclear] negotiations and part of our national security, for which we will not ask any country’s permission,” Shekarchi said.
He did not confirm or deny Iran had tested a new missile, the Reuters news agency said.
Earlier, US National Security Advisor John Bolton tweeted: “Iran just test-fired an INF-range ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel and Europe. This provocative behaviour cannot be tolerated.”
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi also said Iranian missiles were purely defensive.
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