Adm. Scott Stearney Dead: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Scott Stearney

US Navy

United States Navy Admiral Scott Stearney was found dead in his apartment in Bahrain on December 1.

Stearney was the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet, making him the commander of the U.S. Navy in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. As of Saturday evening, defense officials have called his death an “apparent suicide,” according to CBS News. 

The admiral had served for 36 years in the U.S. Navy and had been appointed to his final role in May 2018, putting him in command of 20,000 U.S. and coalition force sailors.

Here’s what you need to know about Stearney’s death:


1. Stearney Was Found Dead in His Apartment in Bahrain on Saturday

Stearney, the Vice Admiral in charge of the military’s operations in the Middle East, was found inside of his apartment in Bahrain. Stearney’s death has been ruled a suicide.

There is no foul play suspected, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are cooperating on an investigation into the circumstances of his death.


2. Stearney Will Now Be Replaced by Rear Adm. Paul Schlise

According to CNN, Rear Adm. Paul Schlise will replace Stearney for the immediate future. Schlise is the acting commander of the Fifth Fleet. However, Vice Adm. Jim Malloy has been deployed to take interim command until the permanent successor is chosen, and should arrive in Bahrain by Sunday.


3. A U.S. Navy Statement Called the Admiral a ‘Devoted Husband & Father’

The U.S. Navy released a statement on Stearney’s death shortly following the official announcement. You can read it here, as written by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson:

Team, it’s my sad duty to inform you that today the Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer and I were told that Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, our commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet, was found deceased in his residence in Bahrain today. This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at 5th Fleet, and for the entire U.S. Navy.

Scott Stearney was a decorated naval warrior. He was a devoted husband and father, and he was a good friend to all of us. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are cooperating on the investigation, but at this time no foul play is suspected. Rear Adm. Paul Schlise, the deputy commander of 5th Fleet, has assumed command and is maintaining continuity in our responsibilities and posture in the U.S. 5th Fleet.

I ask that you keep the Stearney family in your prayers and respect their privacy as they navigate through these very difficult times. We will keep you informed as we learn more. Thank you very much.


4. Stearney Had Only Taken Over His Position in May

Stearney, who was the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet, had just taken over this position in May.

Previous to that position, Stearney served as director of operations at U.S. Central Command since May 2016. He graduated from and also served as an instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School.


5. Stearney Graduated From the University of Notre Dame in 1982, & Entered Flight Training for the Navy Immediately After

The admiral was originally from Chicago and joined the Navy in 1982, two years later, Stearney became a Navy aviator. There, Stearney flew an FA-18 Hornet, according to Stearney’s official Navy profile. In addition, Stearney was a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. The Navy’s tribute to Stearney also mentioned that he served in Afghanistan as the chief of staff of Joint Task Force 435. He was also an instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School.

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