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Body of Navy sailor killed in ship collision returns to Maryland

The body of a U.S. Navy sailor who was killed in a ship collision earlier this month returned to Maryland on Thursday.

Xavier Martin, 24, was killed June 17 when the USS Fitzgerald he was aboard collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan. The Halethorpe man was one of seven Navy sailors killed in the collision.

Martin's funeral is set for July 7 in Randallstown.

Martin was a personnel specialist first class who had been stationed in Guam and Japan during his five years in the Navy. He joined the Navy to follow in the footsteps of his father, who had served four years in the Navy.

He graduated from Lansdowne High School in 2010.

His body was returned from Dover to Maryland with an honor escort of motorcycles and other official vehicles through Annapolis.

The cause of the collision between the guided missile destroyer Fitzgerald and the ACX Crystal container ship is still under investigation. The crash happened in the early hours of the morning, when most sailors would have been sleeping. The area where the collision happened is a busy area for vessels, with hundreds of them passing a day.

The container ship, which is 29,060 tons compared to the 8,315-ton Fitzgerald, hit the smaller ship at high speed. The ACX Crystal did not appear to have major structural damage.

Martin has been described by his family as an intelligent, driven person who liked to make people laugh. He was very close to his father, who raised him as a single parent since he was 10.

Martin and his father were described as "joined at the hip," by Martin's aunt.

cwells@baltsun.com

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