Vice Adm. Scott Stearney, the top admiral overseeing U.S. Naval forces in the Middle East, was found dead in his Bahrain residence Saturday, the Navy said in a statement.
What was the cause?
His death is under investigation, but at this time there appears to be no foul play, officials said.
"This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at Fifth Fleet, and for the entire Navy," Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, said in a statement.
He said Adm. Stearney was a decorated professional, a devoted father, a devoted husband and a good friend.
He also asked for everyone to keep the Stearney family in their thoughts and prayers and to respect their privacy as they navigate through this difficult time.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are cooperating in the investigation.
Richardson told CNN he is unaware of any investigations into Stearney.
Richardson said additional updates on the investigation are forthcoming.
Stearney was the commander of the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, according to the Navy. Rear Adm. Paul Schlise, the deputy commander of the 5th Fleet, has assumed command, according to the statement.
Stearney's biography page on the Navy website reads:
“Vice Adm. Scott Stearney is a native of Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Economics prior to commissioning in the U.S. Navy in October 1982. He subsequently entered flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in April 1984. Stearney graduated from Navy Fighter Weapons School and holds a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University.
Operationally, he served in numerous strike fighter squadrons flying the FA-18 Hornet. His fleet assignments include the Golden Warriors of Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-87, the Knighthawks of Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-136 and strike warfare officer for commander, Carrier Group 4. Stearney commanded the Wildcats of VFA-131 and Carrier Air Wing Seven embarked on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. He served in Kabul, Afghanistan, as chief of staff of Joint Task Force 435 and later Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435.
Ashore, Stearney served as instructor and readiness officer at Navy Fighter Weapons School, aide de camp to the chief of naval operations, deputy director J6 U.S. Joint Forces Command, executive assistant to deputy commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command and chief of staff, Strike Force Training Atlantic.
His flag assignments include commander, U.S. Transportation Command’s Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic, commander, Carrier Strike Group 4, commander, Navy Warfare Development Command, and director of operations, U.S. Central Command.
Most recently, Stearney was commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces from May 2018 until December 1, 2018.
He is entitled to wear the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal, as well as other commendations and awards. He has accumulated more than 4,500 mishap free flight hours and over 1,000 carrier-arrested landings.”