Suffield native missing in U.S. Navy ship collision; Community reacts

SUFFIELD --  A Suffield man is among the U.S. Navy sailors unaccounted for following Monday’s collision between the US destroyer John S. McCain and an oil tanker near Singapore.

Suffield resident Electronics Technician Third Class Petty Officer Dustin Doyon, was among those missing early Monday. Doyon is also the son of Suffield residents.  His mother is the administrative assistant to Suffield’s Chief of Police.

Doyon’s mother works for the Suffield Police Department in an administrative capacity.

Suffield is a town of roughly 15,000 residents. The town green is dotted with American flags and Veteran Memorial Monuments. Residents in town said they are sending their thoughts and prayers to the Doyon family at this difficult time.

“Big things like this have a really big impact on small towns because everyone knows everyone. You feel really bad, you hope obviously that they can find him and your prayers go out to his family and just wishing for a safe return,” Kayla Puia, from Suffield, said.

Doyon was a 2009 graduate of Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts.  The school was destroyed in the June 1, 2011 following a tornado and was later torn down.  Cathedral students later merged with other areas Catholic schools forming Pope Francis High School.  The newly merged school released the following statement:

“We’re aware that Cathedral High School graduate, Petty Officer Dustin Doyon, is among those sailors unaccounted for aboard the USS John S. McCain. The Pope Francis High School community – including our legacy schools – pray for Dustin and his family during this time of uncertainty. Dustin is a valued member of the Cathedral Class of 2009; we know his classmates and Cathedral faculty and staff would join us in praying for him and the crew of the USS McCain.”

The White House expressed its “great sadness” about the incident. “As the Navy begins the process of recovering our fallen sailors, our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and friends,” the statement said.

This is the second deadly collision in the Pacific in the last two months, according to the Navy.

This was also the fourth time a US warship has been involved in an accident in Asian waters this year, and the second in just two months. In June, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan. Seven US sailors died, including another Connecticut resident.

Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin has since been removed from his post as the commander of the US 7th Fleet.