Family and friends remember local sailor killed in Navy ship collision

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Family and friends remember local sailor killed in Navy ship collision. Christie Ileto reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on August 24, 2017.

The Navy has confirmed that the body of a sailor with ties to Cherry Hill, New Jersey has been found.

Twenty-two-year-old Kenneth Smith was an electronics technician aboard the USS John McCain.

He was among ten sailors who disappeared when a tanker collided with that ship in Singapore on Sunday.

Smith's best friend Samantha Carson said, "It's hard, when you're best friend is doing what he loves, and all of a sudden you get the news that he's missing, and two days later we find out there is no coming back.'

It was the grim confirmation, friends and family of Petty Officer 3rd Class Kenneth Smith were hoping wasn't true.

The naval electronics technician was one of ten sailors reported missing after his ship collided with an oil tanker overseas.

His body recovered and identified days later.

Best friends since their high school days at Cherry Hill East,Samantha Carson says this was the last time their group of friends saw Smith.

"We watched TV, caught up on life and then he was back on a ship," Carson said.

When Action News asked, did you ever think that would be the last time you'd ever see him? "No. That was a complete shock," She said.

Gary Miller says they became fast friends when Smith moved here from Virginia in 11th grade. He always talked of joining the navy, like his father.

"The last thing I said, was I'll see you when you get back. I will miss you buddy," Miller said.

Smith's father, Darryl released this statement in part: "I am incredibly proud of his service. He will be greatly missed and I am thankful we had 22 wonderful years together."

High School friend Samantha Ettore said, "He's so kind hearted, like he put other people before himself."

We asked, is it settling in? "It's starting too, and it hurts more and more," Miller said.

I know that he's in a peaceful place and he's going to be okay. And he left an impression on everyone.
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