The admiral leading American Naval forces in the Middle East turned up dead at his Bahrain residence Saturday, CNN reports. Vice Adm. Scott Stearney's death is under investigation, but media reports say there's no evidence of foul play. "This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at Fifth Fleet, and for the entire Navy," says Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations. The Fifth Fleet is part of the US Navy's Naval Forces Central Command, which controls operations in areas including the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. America sees those Naval Forces as a deterrent to Iran and Iran-supported Houthi rebels, which are considered possible threats to regional shipping.
Stearney, a 36-year Navy veteran, took command in the Middle East in May and led more than 200,000 US service members and civilians, per NBC News. The Navy website says he was a Chicago native who graduated from the University of Notre Dame and in 1982 entered the Navy, where he was an aviator and flew the FA-18 Hornet in strike fighter squadrons. He has served several commands and was chief of staff of a Joint Task Force in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Bahraini Ministry of Interior and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are looking into his death, Reuters reports. (Meanwhile, $7M legwear is supposed to turn US troops into "super soldiers.")