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Christie Orders Flags Lowered for NJ Sailor Killed in Navy Collision

Aaron Holmes
Aaron Holmes

CHERRY HILL — Flags across the state will be lowered to half-staff on Saturday for Petty Officer Second Class Kenneth Smith, who was killed when his boat, the U.S.S. John S. McCain collided with another craft near Singapore, is laid to rest.

The order was given by Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday to recognize the death of the third-generation service member. A graduate of Cherry Hill High School East in 2013, Hill had earned several decorations during his service in the Navy including the National Service Defense Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the Navy Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon.

Smith was one of nine sailors killed when the McCain was struck by an oil tanker last month.

“New Jersey was deeply saddened to learn of this painful incident at sea,” Christie said. “Petty Officer Smith was a loving son, whose memory will live on in the hearts of his family, friends, and fellow sailors. We offer our sincerest condolences to his and the other families who lost loved ones.”

Smith and the other sailors were all promoted to their next ranks after their deaths. A motorcycle escort brought Smith’s body to New Jersey after it arrived at Dover Air Force Base ahead of his burial.

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