A sea and air search has been suspended for a Fort Stewart soldier who jumped from a Carnival cruise ship around 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to a Coast Guard press release.
Orlando’s WESH.com reported that crew members aboard the ship said they saw Sgt. Ronald Kemp grab a life-preserver ring before jumping 87 feet to the ocean. The crew members said they threw four other rings into the water with him. The Coast Guard supposedly found two of the rings during Tuesday’s search.
A Coast Guard news release said three Coast Guard vessels and a Coast Guard helicopter, along with an Air Force plane and two Air Force helicopters from Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Fla., took part in the 35-hour search that reportedly covered 2,375 miles and completed 24 patterns.
Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said Kemp, 31, was an artillery noncommissioned officer assigned the 3rd Infantry Division’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Kemp served two tours in Iraq prior to his September 2010 assignment to Fort Stewart, Larson said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Larson said. “We have provided support to them during this difficult time.”
Capt. Matthew Fontaine, 4th IBCT public affairs officer, confirmed Thursday that Kemp has been in the Army seven years. He said Kemp’s combat deployments were with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Neither the Coast Guard nor the Army said whether Kemp was traveling alone.