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Head of US navy operations for Middle East found dead in Bahrain

Vice-Admiral Scott Stearney was found dead on Saturday at his residence in the Gulf state, with the navy saying no foul play is suspected
A US admiral said the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini interior ministry are cooperating on the investigation into Stearney's death (Reuters)

Vice-Admiral Scott Stearney, the head of US Navy operations in the Middle East, has been found dead in Bahrain, with the navy saying no foul play is suspected.

Stearney, whose body was found on Saturday at his residence in the Gulf state, had taken up the post in May of Commander of US Naval Forces Central Command - including the US Fifth Fleet – and Combined Maritime Forces.

"This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at Fifth Fleet and the entire Navy. Scott Stearney was a decorated naval warrior," said a statement from Admiral John Richardson, chief of naval operations.

"At this time no foul play is suspected."

Richardson said the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini interior ministry were cooperating on the investigation.

The Fifth Fleet's deputy commander, Rear Admiral Paul Schlise, has assumed command. Originally from Chicago, Stearney entered the US Navy in 1982 after graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in economics. He later obtained a master's degree from the National Defense University.

He served in several strike fighter squadrons, flying the FA-18 Hornet, and in Kabul, Afghanistan, as chief of staff of Joint Task Force 435 and later Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435.

In the US, Stearney served in various roles, including as instructor and readiness officer at Navy Fighter Weapons School, according to his official biography.

He also held various senior posts, including as director of operations at US Central Command.