A Lebanon airman stationed at Kunsan Air Force Base in Seoul, South Korea drowned Friday while swimming at an off-base pool, according to South Korean police.
The cause of death is under investigation, but no foul play is suspected.
The airman was identified by the military as 1st Lt. Josh Hovies, 26, of the 8th Force Support Squadron and a Lebanon native.
“We are extremely saddened by the loss of one of our finest young officers,” Col. Douglas Nikolai, 8th Fighter Wing vice commander, said in a statement released Monday by the wing. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Lt. Hovies’ family and close friends.”
Officials from the Gunsan Police Station said an emergency call from the Nawoon-dong-area swimming pool Friday at 6:58 p.m. reported Hovies was not breathing.
Hovies, who was born in 1987, had exercised at the pool several times before. Police said other swimmers were in the pool at the time and a swimming coach was present.
“He really made an impact on my life in the short time I knew him,” said Pierce Dodson, who works at the Adult Learning Center in Lebanon.
Hovies, a Lebanon resident, was born in Bellingham, Wash., and lived the first three years of his life in Thailand as the son of missionaries Tom and Alisha Hovies.
Tom Hovies said the family moved to Lebanon soon after returning from Thailand, where Josh Hovies was home-schooled and became an Eagle Scout. He attended Auburn University on a ROTC scholarship and entered active duty in the Air Force following graduation.
Tom Hovies said his son’s funeral was not finalized, but the family plans to have services May 4 at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Lebanon with full military honors and a 21-gun salute. He said the body is expected to be flown into Nashville International Airport within the next couple of days and receive a military escort to Lebanon.
Wilson County Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
– Stars and Stripes contributed to this report