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Sailor Missing For A Week Found Hiding On Navy Ship

| by Michael Howard

An American sailor who was thought to have fallen overboard and died was found alive on his ship after seven days.

Petty Officer Peter Mims, a 23-year-old gas turbine systems technician from Florida, was presumed dead after he vanished from the USS Shiloh on June 8. The Shiloh, a unit of the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group, was in Japan's southern waters at the time of Mims' disappearance.

"We are thankful to have found our missing shipmate and appreciate all the hard work of our sailors and Japanese partners in searching for him," Rear Adm. Charles Williams said. "I am relieved that this sailor's family will not be joining the ranks of Gold Star Families that have sacrificed so much for our country."

Mims was reportedly found hiding in one of the ship's engine rooms. It is not clear whether he was in the engine room the whole time. He is due to be transferred to the USS Ronald Reagan for medical evaluation, according to CNN.

Japan's Coast Guard and Maritime Self-Defense Force assisted the Navy in its search, which included helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft from the Ronald Reagan, according to the Navy Times. Rescue teams spent 50 hours searching 5,500 square miles of Japanese waters before suspending their efforts on June 11.

Members of Mims' family told ABC News that they have been receiving abusive messages online. His sister, Nicky, said people have called the sailor a "disgrace."

"It's supposed to be a time of rejoicing," Nicky said. "Not getting hate mail."

"He always faces his problems," she added. "He never runs away from them."

According to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity, Mims felt as though he was mistreated by the Navy and "couldn't wait to get out." His service was reportedly due to end in a few months.

Mims' other sister, Amy James, described him as a "very strong-headed" person with an infectious sense of humor.

"He's a very strong person, puts a smile on your face, helps anybody needing help," James told ABC News. "He's a jokester."

The sailor's ex-wife, Marie, called him a "bright young man" and said he must have had a valid reason for doing what he did.

"I do feel like the Navy has explaining to do because the event of him going MIA had caused so much distress and sadness," she said. "I know that Peter wouldn't hide in an engine room for no reason."

Mims first enlisted in the Navy in February 2014. He joined the Shiloh in August of that year and was promoted to petty officer third class one year later. The Navy Times reports that he previously earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Navy Marine Corps Oversees Service Ribbon and the Sea Service Ribbon.

Are Mims' actions defensible?
Yes - 34%
Yes - 66%

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