The U.S. Navy said it has punished a sailor who went hiding after presumably going missing aboard the USS Shiloh near Japan, which triggered a search-and-rescue mission.
The U.S. Navy said Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 3rd Class violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s Article 86, abandoning watch, and Article 92, dereliction in the performance of duties.
Lt. Paul Newell, a spokesman for the Navy’s 7th Fleet, said the branch would not disclose how Mims was punished but said additional action could be taken.
“We are not disclosing any of the punitive actions taken against him,” Newell said. “However, I can say that Mims is facing possible further administrative action.”
The Navy Times reported such administrative action could result in Mims being discharged.
Mims was thought to have gone overboard when he was noticed missing June 8 aboard the Shiloh, a cruiser that is part of the USS Ronald Reagan carrier group patrolling waters in the Pacific near Japan.
Helicopters and fixed-wing planes off the Reagan, along with other ships in the group and the Japanese coast guard participated in a massive rescue effort, combing more than 5,500 square miles of open ocean over a period of 50 hours.
When the search was unsuccessful, Mims was presumed dead. Days later, the crew of the Shiloh found he’d hid in an engine room aboard the ship for more than five days. It is unclear how he survived that long or how he went undetected.
On Thursday, Mims faced an admiral’s mast — a Navy disciplinary proceeding.
“Mims admitted that his weeklong disappearance had been intentional and that he took steps to try to avoid being found by the other Shiloh sailors who were actively trying to locate him,” Newell told Navy Times. “The decision to use admiral’s mast was due to the serious impact this had on the [Ronald Reagan strike group] and also our Japanese allies.”
Mims enlisted in the Navy in February 2014 and reported to the Shiloh in August of that year. He had received previous promotions and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon and Sea Service Ribbon.
Eric DuVall contributed to this report.