Remembering missing Lubbock sailor Lt. Steven Hopkins

Remembering missing Lubbock sailor Lt. Steven Hopkins

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Today we're hearing from those who knew missing Lubbock sailor Lt. Steven Hopkins.

Hopkins went missing from a destroyer in the Philippines last week. On Saturday friends of Hopkins gathered at Nicks Sports Bar to swap stories and share memories as well.

The U.S. 7th Fleet released a statement saying Lt. Hopkins was reported missing and assumed overboard on the USS Stethem on Aug. 1.

A search and rescue was launched, covering 10,000 square nautical miles and lasting 80 hours, before it was called off.

Lt. Hopkins was a 2005 graduate of Lubbock High School and an officer in the Navy Junior ROTC program.

We spoke with his former principal and his Naval Science instructor in the NJROTC program, who both shared memories of Steven Hopkins' time at Lubbock High.

"He knew from way back when he was a freshman what he wanted to do and that was to serve the country in the Navy," Master Chief Mark Hayes said.

Master Chief Hayes became the Naval Science Instructor for the NJROTC program at Lubbock High School during Steven Hopkins' senior year.

He says Hopkins immediately left an impression.

"I had just come on board, brand new teacher. When you see students like Steven come through the program, it keeps you coming back. I'm starting my 14th year, and I keep coming back because of students like Steven," Master Chief Hayes said.

He says Hopkins was a passionate and determined officer in the program, setting his goals high and achieving all of them.

"I got to know him quite well because he was on our armed drill team. He did everything: marksmanship, color guard. He lived down in the NJROTC spaces," Master Chief Hayes said. "Steven stood out. His personality, his laugh, his smile. He was well liked. Everyone loved him, his service to our nation and his family. He'll be sorely missed."

Hopkins' former principal and now Associate Superintendent, Doyle Vogler, says he is a student he will never forget.

"Steven was just a big part of the entire school. As you've seen his picture, he always had that big smile on his face. He was always a happy kid. And again, always willing to pitch in and help wherever the need was," Vogler said.

As Lt. Hopkins lived up to the Navy motto, "Not for self, but for country", he will always be a part of another motto.

The words painted on the wall outside of Chapman Field: "Once a Westerner, always a Westerner," ensuring Lt. Hopkins community at Lubbock High School will always remember his legacy.

"I feel honored to know him, to know that he was out there in the military, supporting our country, supporting us civilians. And I can't say enough, thank you, to the sacrifices he has made. He and his family," Vogler said.

"And that's what we are. We're a family. And he'll always be a member of that family," Master Chief Hayes said.

The U.S. 7th Fleet says the incident is currently being investigated.

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