Cousin: Sailor killed in crash near Japan was to retire soon

In this Saturday, June 17, 2017 file photo, the damaged USS Fitzgerald is towed by a tugboat in the waters near the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, southwest of Tokyo, after the U.S. destroyer collided with the Philippine-registered container ship ACX Crystal in the waters off the Izu Peninsula. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) — The cousin of a U.S. Navy sailor from Ohio says the 37-year-old man was three months shy of retiring when he was killed this weekend in a collision between a destroyer and a container ship off Japan.

Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr. was among seven sailors killed aboard the USS Fitzgerald on Saturday. He was from Elyria (eh-LEER’-ee-uh), roughly 25 miles west of Cleveland.

Brad Rehm tells The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria that word of his cousin’s death was shocking.

Gary Rehm is survived by his wife, Erin.

He was part of a crew of nearly 300 aboard the destroyer when a Philippine-flagged container ship collided with it early Saturday. Authorities declined to speculate on a cause.

READ MORE: Ohio man among 7 sailors killed on USS Fitzgerald

A delay in reporting the collision is under investigation.

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