Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, of Oceanside, California, near San Diego, was one of the seven sailors who perished during the collision between the U.S.S. Fitzgerald and a Philippine cargo ship early Saturday morning. Those who knew Douglass took a moment to reflect on a man who made an indelible impression on many.
A son of a Marine, Douglass attended Camp Foster while his family was stationed on Okinawa. A classmate of his remembers him as a “class-clown type and everyone loved him for it.”
“It didn’t take a genius to know he was a likeable person,” said Christal VanEtten, class of 2010. “Always friendly and always smiling. Even if it were a brief interaction, something about his personality rubbed off on you in a good way.”
He’s remembered for his prowess in singles and doubles tennis, and for his ability to win friends with his humor, according to Stars and Stripes.
“He was a great part of the tennis team,” said Cait Frandsen, a teammate. “I can’t stop thinking about all the memories with him. Everything’s just flooding. His smiles, his laugh, the way he talked. He was such a joy.”
One of her memories involves a time when she lost a tough match that put her in a sour mood. Douglass, she said, lifted her spirits. “Shingo found a way to make me laugh. … He was just always super optimistic and goof. Always made everyone smile. Such a great guy, seriously.”
His altruism has also been noted by those who knew him. During a visit to a South Korean orphanage in October, while Douglass was aboard the USS Fitzgerald, he volunteered to push a disabled orphan in a wheelchair. According to Stars and Stripes, he was proud of the work he performed aboard the vessel, and for his part in defending America while asea.
“I maintain the outside of the ship by sanding and painting, line handling and raising and lowering the rafts,” he said in a February 2015 Navy news release. “I enjoy being in Japan, working with the Japanese Navy and getting underway frequently. The Navy is allowing me to travel, get a better understanding of how they operate while out at sea.”
Please pray for Shingo Alexander Douglass’s family, and for the families of the other six sailors who lost their lives aboard the USS Fitzgerald.