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Top U.S. navy commander found dead in Middle East, no foul play suspected

U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Scott A. Stearney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces, delivers remarks during the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade change of command ceremony in Manama, Bahrain July 3, 2018.
U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Scott A. Stearney, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces, delivers remarks during the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade change of command ceremony in Manama, Bahrain July 3, 2018. U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Wesley Timm/Handout via REUTERS.

A top ranking U.S. naval admiral who commanded more than 20,000 servicemen has died, but no foul play is suspected, the navy said.

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Vice Admiral Scott Stearney oversaw the American naval forces in the Middle East as the commander of the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet. He was found dead at his residence in Bahrain Saturday, the navy said, but did not specify the cause of death.

“The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior are co-operating on the investigation, but at this time no foul play is suspected,” said Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, adding that¬†Stearney‘s deputy, Rear Admiral Paul Schlise, had assumed command.

A Chicago native, Stearney took over as commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the Combined Maritime Forces in May. He had served 36 years in the navy.

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-With files from Reuters