Family ID’d Ethan Goolsby as Missing USS Theodore Roosevelt Sailor

By Faye Higbee

Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Ethan Goolsby, 20, was identified as the sailor from USS Theodore Roosevelt who went missing on Thursday. Goolsby is feared to have gone overboard. The TR just left San Diego on Monday, bound for its second deployment of 2020. Ethan is the only son of Michelle and Kelly Goolsby.

UPDATE: The search for this missing sailor was called off at sunset on Saturday. He has been declared deceased (Navy Times).

Photo via Navy Times of Ethan and his father Kelly from Michelle Goolsby, Ethan’s Mother.

A lookout on board the ship saw what he believed to be a man in the water at around 7 a.m. Thursday morning and sounded the alarm. Three search and rescue helicopters and a rigid-hull inflatable boat were immediately launched. When a ship-wide muster was conducted, one sailor was missing.

Stripes reported that several ships were participating in the search and rescue mission.

“The Coast Guard, guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, littoral combat ship USS Charleston, guided-missile destroyers USS Russell and USS Howard and Navy aircraft are involved in the search.”

Stars and Stripes

Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Apprentice Ethan Goolsby graduated from boot camp in January of 2020, and the USS Theodore Roosevelt was his first assignment.

Image of search area via Daily Mail

This has been the year from h.e.l.l. for the USS Theodore Roosevelt. While deployed in Asia, the ship began to experience major cases of COVID-19. As the Captain, Brett Crozier, sought help outside the normal chain of command, he was relieved of duty, though he was highly regarded by the crew.

As the cases of virus increased, a Naval official, former Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly, flew all the way to Guam to throw a fit at the crew over their Captain’s actions. He resigned shortly thereafter. But the emotional damage to the crew could not have been helpful in fighting the outbreak aboard the ship. Medical professionals stated that though the crew was healthy and physically fit, their close proximity to each other exacerbated the spread. Roughly 1/4 of the crew became infected.

Ethan Goolsby lived through all of it. According to the Navy Times, the family is new to the military.

“They told us (the Naval Criminal Investigative Service) is investigating and they really can’t share any more information at this point,” she said. “We know there’s been a lot of things that’s happened on that ship, with the COVID, and I have questions.”

“Is there netting around the ship?” she continued. “We keep hearing all kinds of different things. We just want updates. What are they doing today?”

Goolsby surprised his parents with a visit home in October and stayed until Nov. 2, they said.

He then had to quarantine for five weeks upon returning to San Diego and told his parents that sometimes meals were not delivered to his room.

At one point, he told them he returned to the ship but someone tested positive for COVID so he had to go back into quarantine.

Navy Times

A Naval casualty officer visited the family on Thursday evening to let them know about Ethan falling overboard as the search continues.


Featured photo: The USS Theodore Roosevelt

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