Sailor Who Died in Apparent Diving Mishap on Okinawa Identified

Tourists snap photos of the weather-battered coral rock cliffs at Cape Manzamo June 13, 2015. The cape is one of Okinawa's most popular tourist destinations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tim Flack)
Tourists snap photos of the weather-battered coral rock cliffs at Cape Manzamo June 13, 2015. The cape is one of Okinawa's most popular tourist destinations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tim Flack)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Marine Corps has identified the sailor who died Monday during an apparent diving mishap at a popular Okinawan diving spot as Petty Officer 1st Class Jorge NoriegaSuarez. NoriegaSuarez, a married father of one, was a fleet Marine force corpsman and advance X-ray technician assigned to the 3rd Medical Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, the Marine Corps said in a statement Wednesday. The "3rd Medical Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, is deeply saddened and shocked by the death of [Petty Officer 1st Class] NoriegaSuarez," 3rd Medical Battalion commander Capt. Jason Darby said in the statement. "He was a model sailor, a father, and a valued member of every command he was assigned to."

NoriegaSuarez was from Barranquilla, Colombia, the statement said. He enlisted in the Navy on July 13, 2004. During his career, he received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and was previously stationed at Navy Branch Health Clinic Whiting Field, Pensacola, Fla., Marine Air Group 26, Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan.

He died about 10 a.m. Monday at Mermaid Grotto in Manzo-Mo, Okinawa. Mermaid Grotto is a popular diving spot for locals and Americans. The interior pools teem with colorful tropical fish and are protected by overarching rock formations. Marine officials said they continue to investigate the cause of death but believe it to have been an accident.

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