Ratish Prasad – Lieutenant (jg), United States Navy

Information providing by his loving sister, Rachna Prasad, 20 January 2000:

Ratish Prasad was born is Tucson, Arizona in 1963 to parents who had immigrated from India. He was raised in Park Forest, Illinois.

He graduated from the University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign with a business degree in 1985. He joined the Navy less than a month later. He attended Officer's Candidate Sschool (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island and became an Ensign in the Supply Corps. He was assigned to the USS John Hancock that Fall in Charleston, South Carolina. Eventually the Destroyer was moved to Jacksonville, Florida. He was promoted to Lieutenant (jg) and was within two months of  being promoted to Lieutenant when he was killed.

Over his years of active duty,  he participated in NATO exercises and others. In March of 1988, the USS Hancock was about to embark on exercises in the Persian Gulf. As you may recall, those tense times in that region. As Payroll Officer of the ship, it was his responsibility to make certain that there were sufficient funds to pay the sailors and officers aboard the ship for a lengthy cruise.

The ship was docked in Jacksonville on the night of March 14th, and Ratish was the Officer of the Deck until midnight. To make a painful story short, one of the sailors on board kidnapped him at gun-point from his cabin, took him to the office and forced him to open the safe and then killed him in a supply room. His body was found hours later when he was noticed missing at the morning call. Ratish was only 24 years old. He was so proud to wear the Uniform of an American Officer.

Ratish was the oldest child and only son of Rameshwar (father) and Mithilesh (mother) Prasad. He also left behind two younger sisters – Roli and Rachna (me).

Ratish is also the first person of the Hindu faith to be buried in a Military Cemetery. We had to find a symbol that would be appropriate to mark his headstone.

Does that pretty much cover his Biography? They caught the sailor who killed him. He is currently serving a life sentence. However, he is eligible for parole, so Roli and I will be coming out there in February to speak in Ratish's memory. Thank You, Rachna Prasad.

Ratish Prasad is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 65 Grave 1577).

In early 2009 the Discovery Channel Investigations series “The Real NCIS” featured an episode called “The Killer Among Us” that centered around Ratish and the murder investigation.

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