Missing sailor's family told to stay mum

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by GLENN FARLEY & JIM FORMAN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @GlennFarley

KING5.com

Posted on July 27, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 27 at 10:33 PM

SEATTLE – The Department of Defense announced Tuesday the name of sailor from Renton, Wash. missing in Afghanistan.

A search is underway for Petty Officer 3rd Class Jerod Paul Newlove, 25, who went missing after what was believed to be a firefight with the Taliban on July 23.

Another sailor, Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley of Wheatridge, Colo., was killed in the incident.

The Pentagon is asking family and friends to stay off the Internet and keep whatever they know to themselves. They are calling it a security measure.

And the Newlove family and the Navy are asking that the media and the public not reveal any additional personal information related to this matter or the family itself. The information in the wrong hands could jeaporadize Jarod's safety and well-being.

The two sailors were last seen alive in a dangerous area south of Kabul, the Afghan capital.

A Taliban spokesman said Sunday that an American had been captured after a brief gun battle. Because Newlove may be held captive by the Taliban, KING 5 News is continuing to be very guarded about releasing some of the information we have learned. But the Navy has released more about him that we can talk about.

Newlove did spend time at sea, based out of San Diego aboard the USS New Orleans. He was one of the original crew members, along with friend and former ship mate Nick Nault. They met while on shore as their new ship was being finished.

"We were actually in the barracks together. He wasn't my roommate, but we were in the same barracks, and all started hanging out," said Nault.

The Navy says it continues to investigate why Newlove and McNeley ended up some 80 miles away from where they were supposed to be. McNeley's body was recoverd.

The Navy and Newlove's family are being very careful about what they say, hoping that he is alive and could be returned.

Through the Navy,  Newlove's family said "... they would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. They want the public to know that all of your support means so much to their family. "

More than twice as many sailors are on the ground in Afghanistan as there are in Iraq. Most are serving because of their individual specialties, serving as medics, culinary specialists, public affairs officers and a host of other functions.

Newlove had left the Navy and went back into the military to take one of these jobs. He's listed as a Culinary Specialist Third Class.

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