USS Philippine Sea commanding officer dies at residence on base

Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser United States ship (USS) Philippine Sea (CG 58) commanding officer Captain Wesley A. Smith, 50, died October 10 at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida, the US Navy Region Southeast Public Affairs reports. The report said Naval Air Station Jacksonville Fire Department responded to a fire at the officer’s residence on base at approximately 8 pm.

He was found unresponsive and transported to Naval Hospital Jacksonville where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death has not been determined.

“We offer our sincere condolences to Capt. Smith’s wife and children, his family and the entire USS Philippine Sea crew and family. They are in our thoughts and prayers as we deal with this tragic loss. Capt. Smith served the Navy and our nation honorably and with great distinction,” Carrier Strike Group Two commander Rear Admiral Brian Luther said

“We honor his outstanding contributions to our Navy and this nation,” Rear Admiral Luther added.

Smith, a surface warfare officer, took over the command of USS Philippine Sea in October 2013. Philippine Sea is currently at pier in her homeport of Mayport, Florida.

USS Philippine Sea (CG-58) was named for the Battle of the Philippine Sea during World War II and is the second ship to bear the name. CG-58 has completed multiple deployments as part of Operation Enduring Freedom since 2001.