Two local sailors on board USS McCain during collision, one remains missing

CLEVELAND, Texas (KTRK) -- John Hoagland -- known to his family as CJ -- always dreamed of serving in the military.

"The first time John said he wanted to serve his country, he was five," said his mother Cynthia Kimball. "It's the only thing he's ever wanted to do."

Hoagland is among the 10 missing sailors who were aboard the USS John S McCain when it collided with a civilian ship in the Pacific Ocean this weekend.

"He loves the military," she said, "but he loves his family. He is really a good person. He would do anything for anyone."

Kimball, told Eyewitness News her son has served aboard the ship since October 2016. He enlisted in the Navy after serving as the executive officer in the JROTC in high school in Killeen.

"He was ready to go," she said. "That was his main focus."

Hoagland has deep roots in Cleveland, Texas. His mother is currently living at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

"As a family, we've been trying to help each other," she said of the distance between relatives. "We're doing the best we can."

Kimball said her son is an electronic technician and plans a career in the Navy.

She said the Navy visited her Monday morning and told her that her son was among those missing. She has not had an update since then. She last saw her son in March.

"We're just here," she said. "I don't want to say numb, but it doesn't seem real yet. You still hope that it's not true."

Hoagland is 20 years old. His birthday is in October.

Houston family members say Sailor Alton Williams III was also onboard the ship at the time of the collision, but he is unhurt.

Tom Abrahams and Steve Campion will have more on these sailors and their families on ABC13 Eyewitness News this afternoon.

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