3 suicides in 1 week by sailors from aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush

  
Via:  flynavy1  •  4 weeks ago  •  24 comments

3 suicides in 1 week by sailors from aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush
Bailey said these are the third, fourth and fifth crew member deaths by suicide in the last two years.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


The deaths by suicide of three sailors serving aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush last week have led the ship's commanding officer to urge his crew to come together and help shipmates in need.

The three unrelated deaths by suicide occurred while the ship has been in dry dock at its homeport of Norfolk, Virginia, undergoing scheduled long-term maintenance since earlier this year. None of the deaths occurred aboard the ship.

"Avengers, family, and friends, it is with a heavy heart that I can confirm the loss of three sailors last week in separate, unrelated incidents from apparent suicide," Capt. Sean Bailey, the ship's commanding officer, wrote in a post to the ship's Facebook page. "My heart is broken."

Bailey said these are the third, fourth and fifth crew member deaths by suicide in the last two years. The previous suicides occurred in November 2017 and July 2019.

"Now is the time to come together as a crew and as a family to grieve, to support each other, and to care for those in need," he added. "We need all hands to engage by bringing forward your suggestions and ideas for how we can work together to prevent another suicide. I want to reiterate that there is never any stigma or repercussion from seeking help."

The Navy has identified Chief Electronics Technician Nuclear James Shelton, Airman Ethan Stuart and Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Vincent Forline as the three sailors who died by suicide last week.

Shelton and Stuart both died by suicide on Sept. 19 in separate incidents and were found at off-base locations, Forline's death had occurred on Sept. 14, Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, a spokeswoman for Naval Air Force Atlantic, told ABC News in a statement.

"The sailors did not serve in the same departments, and there does not appear to be a connection between their deaths," Cragg said. Crew members who are assigned to the carrier typically stay attached to the ship during their tour, but sometimes leave for training or other duty requirements.

"Chaplains, psychologists, counselors, and leadership are engaged and available on board at all times to provide support and counseling to those grieving," he wrote. "I ask that you watch closely for stressors that anyone is experiencing when they face a significant life change.

"If you find yourself in need, call the Suicide Hotline number at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647. You can also text 'home' to the Crisis Hotline at 741741," he wrote.

"Asking for help and supporting those who reach out is a sign of strength and resilience and never viewed negatively," he added.

The Defense Department plans to release the latest version of an annual report that tracks the rate of suicides in the military, later this week. For the first time, that report will also track the deaths by suicide of any family members of those in military service.

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FLYNAVY1
1  seeder  FLYNAVY1    4 weeks ago

According to a corresponding USNI News article, the Navy's active duty suicide rate was 20.1/100,000 in 2018.  That was a decrease from 20.4/100,000 in 2018.

Corresponding suicide rates for the other services in 2018:

Marine Corps: 30.7/100,000

Air Force: 18.0/100,000

Army: 29.8/100,000

Coast Guard: 4.9/100,000  (Coast Guard reports average 2 suicides per year for their 40,992 active duty force for the last five years)

US National average: 13.0/100,000 

Doing some research, studies on Navy suicide rates from 1974-1985 were 6.9/100,000.  Is it how we raised the kids? Is it social media? Did we have less to worry about in the 70s & 80s? 

What can we do about this.....?  Life in the military is stressful and can be very dangerous at times.  It's already hard enough to get the number of volunteers needed to fill the ranks.

 
 
 
Freefaller
1.1  Freefaller  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1    4 weeks ago
Is it how we raised the kids? Is it social media?

I imagine a little of both plus toss in some youth, immaturity and probably a few other factors.  It is difficult just to find one or two reasons why people do stuff and the reasons for one person do not necessarily apply to the next. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
2  Buzz of the Orient    4 weeks ago

It's not unusual for persons intending suicide to write a note about it, from which a reason could be determined.  There is no indication in the story about that.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
2.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2    4 weeks ago

The USNI article  didn't have anything about notes either.

While the Navy's suicide level is bad, the Marines and the Army are worse yet.  Deployments, combat stress, the forever wars....  I have no answers.  I can tell you though that it must have something to do with how we raised our kids, and how social media impacts them.  The rate of suicide is three times that of what it was in the 1970s & 80s.

Hope you're and you're family are doing well Buzz.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
2.1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @2.1    4 weeks ago

We're fine, hope all goes well with you too.

 
 
 
Suz
2.1.2  Suz  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @2.1    4 weeks ago

You mention social media impacting these men and I don't disagree with you.  I believe these sites should remove access from all soldiers and if they don't have one yet, a site for fighting men and women should be an alternative to Facebook or any other site which houses hate and resentment toward the military.  I don't doubt there is already a site in place.  I just know.

Are there no military sites that have behavioral heath professionals on-line or Facetime for one-on-one emergencies?

Than you.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
2.1.3  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Suz @2.1.2    4 weeks ago

Thanks for your perspective.  It's one to contemplate.  I don't go on Facebook so I wouldn't know how much resentment towards military personnel is posted there.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
2.1.4  Trout Giggles  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @2.1.3    4 weeks ago

I don't see a lot, but a lot of my face book friends are military. I don't think the military should play baby sitter to the troops and tell them to stay off of social media. I do think that there needs to be less stigma attached to going to see the base head shrinker.

 
 
 
Kavika
3  Kavika     4 weeks ago

IMO, the never-ending combat tours of Marines and Army personnel is a major contributor to the suicide rate. 

The '70s and '80s didn't have the ''forever'' combat tours. There were combat tours of course, of which I am painfully aware, but nothing like we are seeing in the 2000's.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Kavika @3    4 weeks ago

I know my second nine month Westpac deployment was worse that my first.  It was because I knew what is was going to be like and how grinding it was going to be.  I have to wonder in the case of the ground pounders, who get to see things of our worst nightmares, that their anxiety is amplified in the same way.  They know what's coming.

 
 
 
Krishna
4  Krishna    4 weeks ago

The three unrelated deaths

Three suicides on the same ship . . .  during the same week...and they're un-related?

Yeah, right. We all believe that!!!

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
4.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Krishna @4    4 weeks ago

Krishna..... According to my Navy sources, they were in three different departments on the ship.

The USS Bush is currently in dry dock for a 28 month maintenance period which started in February of this year.  From experience, while it is stressful on deployment, you get into a rhythm.  When in dry dock, you often get assigned to jobs unrelated to what you're trained for, and frustration can set in for doing shit-jobs.

Trust me, I have a skeptical side of me that started with the deaths of crewmen in the brig on the USS Ranger in 1981, to the lies told about the explosion on the USS Iowa #2 turret in 1989. 

 
 
 
Krishna
4.1.1  Krishna  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @4.1    4 weeks ago
When in dry dock, you often get assigned to jobs unrelated to what you're trained for, and frustration can set in for doing shit-jobs.

But that also happens quite frequently in the private sector as well.

And in non-government jobs. (Some incredible bullshit goes on inn the civil service).

Why is the suicide rate so much higher with people doing those sorts of jobs (that they weren't trained for-- or just "shit jobs") in the military? Is it the general overall atmossphere created by the military? Or is it the type of people the military generally attracts? Or...some other factor?

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
4.1.2  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Krishna @4.1.1    4 weeks ago

One of the traditions that still goes on today in the Navy is that once you first report as a lower grade (E1-E3) you are required to spend 60 days temporarily assigned to the mess decks, laundry, ships services (cleaning compartments), and that's when you are underway, or tied up to the pier.  People can get pissed of at chipping and painting pretty quickly.

Another thing that can happen with some of the other enlisted is that you've passed your advancement test for E5 (PO 2nd class =  Buck Sergent) so you are frocked to wear the stripes, but manage to get busted for doing something stupid, and you lose TWO paygrades.  Now you are back at the E3 level and have to start the cycle again to take the advancement tests.  I've seen people in those situations just really degrade in their attitude.

Your are correct, that people doing "Shit-Jobs" are often being supervised by others that may have gotten busted with bad attitudes, or only know how to bully/threaten people to do things.  This is why the military has difficulty in pinning things down I think because there are so many sources.

You can have great leadership, poor leadership, or one or two transfers in our out of you unit that can make or break the unit's performance. 

 
 
 
XDm9mm
4.1.3  XDm9mm  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @4.1.2    4 weeks ago
You can have great leadership, poor leadership, or one or two transfers in our out of you unit that can make or break the unit's performance.

FN....  the exact same thing happens in the private sector as well.  It's a universal problem.  Especially today when so many young people feel entitled and expect to get what they want, when they want it.  They haven't learned copping skills as those of my and your generation did.

I personally believe that the greatest problem, especially in the Navy, is two fold.  First, when deployed, those men and women are totally separated from family and friends who know them best and help keep them grounded.  Second, especially in this scenario, when the ship is in dry dock, they feel they're being cheated and it's not what they signed up for.  They want to be at sea and not anchored to a ground based desk or other impediment to their advancement and careers.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
4.1.4  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  XDm9mm @4.1.3    4 weeks ago

Both good points XD.

I will add though that back in the 1980s, all we had was snail-mail.  There were no internet communications.  Your whole day could be brightened or made foul if you did or didn't get a letter from home.

And I agree with you that the kids today have in general been raised differently than those raised by parents that lived through the dust bowl and depression.

Take care.

 
 
 
XDm9mm
4.1.5  XDm9mm  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @4.1.4    4 weeks ago
I will add though that back in the 1980s, all we had was snail-mail

Damn...   you're a kid!!  jrSmiley_100_smiley_image.jpg

My mom wrote the CO of my company (287th MP Berlin Brigade) back in '70 that she was concerned as she hadn't heard from me in over 6 months.   I never was very good at letter writing!!  Needless to say, I was confined to his outer office (with the 1st Sgt no less) once a week for the next two months while I wrote a letter home!!

My last letter home was to inform her that I was getting married and would send her home the next month, two weeks before I was to rotate home and be discharged.   Two months later, she was on a plane back to Berlin because she didn't like the states, and I sure as hell wasn't going to live in Berlin!!  

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
4.1.6  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  XDm9mm @4.1.5    4 weeks ago

My last letter home was to inform her that I was getting married and would send her home the next month...

Damn.... Did you tap dance in minefields as well?

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
5  Perrie Halpern R.A.    4 weeks ago

My dad was in the navy from 1950-1966. He said that it was rare to hear of anyone committing suicide back then. 

But here is a clue. My daughter's fiance was a Coastie. He was injured during a drug seizure and did some time at the VA. He said that the number of guys there with PTSD was sky high. Most had done multiple tours in heavy combat zones. He thinks it's because we are now a volunteer force, and that means that guys and gals are getting burn out. It inspired him to go into psychiatric medicine. He plans on working at the VA to try and help.

 
 
 
Krishna
5.1  Krishna  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5    4 weeks ago

He said that the number of guys there with PTSD was sky high. Most had done multiple tours in heavy combat zones.

But are there that many Coast Guard boats that have been recently been stationed in active war zones? Enough to create so many cases of PTSD amongst members of the Coast Guard?

He thinks it's because we are now a volunteer force, and that means that guys and gals are getting burn out

Why would someone who freely chose to serve in the military (volunteers) be more subject to severe stress than those who were swerving against their will (draftees)? 

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
5.1.1  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Krishna @5.1    4 weeks ago

Draftees were required to serve two years.  Volunteers today serve a minimum of four years, and can be extended to meet critical needs.  For how long, I don't know.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
5.1.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @5.1.1    4 weeks ago

I think up to another 2 years. During the first Gulf War there was a young man in the office next to mine who was due to get out a month after Desert Shield started, but he was stopped gap for at least a year.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
5.2  seeder  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5    4 weeks ago

Perrie.... As always, your on to something.

I can't speak to PTSD in the Viet Nam vets as I joined in 1981.  Absolutely we are burning out our volunteers at the very same high rate we are wearing our high dollar weapons of war from continuous combat operations.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
5.2.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @5.2    4 weeks ago

Andy said that the bulk of the PTSD now showing up are 20 and 30 somethings, so these are not Nam vets. These are Gulf War vets. Btw.. they get very little in way of treatment since the shrinks are few and very burnt out. 

Yes, I do think we are wearing out our volunteers. I didn't know about our equipment. Not good. 

 
 
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