Virginia sailor killed in collision remembered as 'good kid'

(Photo: Lake Monticello Fire Department/Facebook page)

PALMYRA, Va. (WSET) -- A Virginia sailor killed on a U.S. Naval destroyer is being remembered as a "good kid" and a dependable volunteer firefighter.

Volunteer firefighter Farrah Brody says Rigsby "was a good kid; he'd give his shirt off of his back for you."

The Navy identified 19-year-old Gunner's Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby of Palmyra as one of the sailors killed when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the Japanese coast Saturday. The sailors' bodies were later found inside the wreckage.

Rigsby, a graduate of Fluvanna County High School, joined the Lake Monticello Volunteer Fire Department in 2014, following the footsteps of his mother.

Assistant Fire Chief Jean Campbell described Rigsby as a dependable firefighter, calling his death "a tragic loss."

"Dakota he was a good kid, he was quiet, stayed out of trouble and great team member we enjoyed having him on the department," Chief Campbell said. "[It's a] tragic loss, taken entirely too soon. We just know that he is watching over us right now."

Rigsby also played high school football. He was as an offensive and defensive lineman. His coach described him as someone who always went above and beyond for his team. "He always had this smile, this energy, this youthful exuberance as you would say," said Jason Barnett, the former Fluvanna County High School football coach. "He just cared, and that's evident in the fact that he went on to serve his country and all of us in Fluvanna."

The fire chief says Rigsby's body is still in Japan.

The remains of the seven sailors are expected to arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Tuesday.

His family has not commented on the incident and doesn't want to speak to media. The fire departments plans to send out a press release when his remains arrive in the U.S.

Rigsby was not married and did not have children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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