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Damaged Nuclear Sub Back Home

A sailor who had recently re-enlisted for five more years died when a nuclear submarine ran aground, damaging the vessel's bow but leaving its reactor plant intact, authorities said.

The Navy said 23 other people were injured Saturday, when the USS San Francisco ran aground about 350 miles south of Guam. The submarine reached its home port of Apra Harbor here Monday under its own power, a Navy spokesman said.

Navy medical personnel from Guam were brought aboard the submarine to treat the injuries, which included broken bones, lacerations, bruises and a back injury, the Navy said. The submarine has a crew of 137.

The sailor killed was identified as Machinist Mate 2nd Class Joseph Allen Ashley, 24, of Akron, Ohio. He died Sunday of his injuries, said Jon Yoshishige, spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Honolulu.

Ashley graduated in 1999 from Manchester High School where he played drums with the marching band, his mother, Vicki Ashley, said on Sunday. She said he followed the footsteps of his father, Daniel, who served eight years in the Navy during the Vietnam War.

Just a few months ago, Ashley re-enlisted for five more years, his mother said. Friends and neighbors placed small American flags on the lawn of his family's home.

Officials said they still don't know what the Los Angeles-class submarine hit, but Lt. j.g. Adam Clampitt of the Pacific Fleet said it had been conducting underwater operations at the time.

The extent of damage to the 360-foot submarine was not immediately determined, Yoshishige said. An investigation was being launched into the cause of the accident.

The San Francisco is one of three submarines based on Guam. Located west of the international dateline, Guam is a U.S. territory about 3,700 miles southwest of Hawaii.