2 sailors assigned to USS George Washington die by suicide a day apart

At least two of the three Navy shipmates discovered useless in Virginia in lower than a week died by suicide, together with a 23-year-old newlywed who “never showed his pain,” relations and officers mentioned Wednesday. 

Retail Services Specialist third Class Mika’il Rayshawn Sharp died by suicide off-base in Portsmouth on April 9, mentioned his mom, Natalie Jefferson. 

(*2*)Image: Mika’il Rayshawn Sharp
Mika’il Rayshawn Sharp.U.S. Navy through Natalie Jefferson

Sharp, 23, joined the Navy about two years in the past, following within the footsteps of a number of relations, together with a great-grandfather. He had simply gotten married final 12 months and had plans to purchase a home and begin having kids together with his spouse, whom he was “over the moon” about, mentioned Jefferson, 43. 

“He was the life of the party,” Jefferson mentioned, including that it by no means dawned on her that her son was struggling. “I would have never thought that it would hit so close to home like this.”

On April 10, Interior Communications Electrician third Class Natasha Huffman was discovered useless off-base in Hampton, the Navy mentioned. The state chief medical expert’s workplace confirmed Wednesday that the reason for demise was suicide.

Five days after Huffman’s demise, a sailor was discovered unresponsive aboard the plane provider USS George Washington, the place all of them served, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Robert Myers mentioned in a assertion. The sailor’s id and reason for demise haven’t been launched.  

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and native authorities are investigating all three deaths, the Navy mentioned. It provided no extra remark Wednesday following confirmations of each suicides.

The information comes lower than three years after related back-to-back Navy suicides. In 2019, three sailors who served on the USS George H.W. Bush, an plane provider, died by suicide inside a week in separate cases off-base, the Navy mentioned on the time.

In 2020, the newest 12 months for which full information can be found, 580 army members died by suicide, a 16 % improve from 2019, when 498 died by suicide, in accordance to the Defense Department

The Pentagon mentioned it didn’t see a statistical change in suicide charges from 2020 to 2019 or 2018 that may point out a Covid-19-related improve.

“No two people are similar, and no two life experiences are similar,” Army Maj. Gen. Clement S. Coward mentioned within the 2020 report. “So we’re working to deal with a vary of threat components and improve protecting components for members of our Armed Forces.”

In 2020, 19 out of each 100,000 sailors died by suicide in contrast to members of the Army, who had the best fee, at about 36 per 100,000, Pentagon statistics present.

Jefferson, who lived with Sharp in Norfolk, Virginia, mentioned she didn’t assume she had any motive to fear about her son’s psychological well being. When he wasn’t dancing, taking part in pool or holding his beloved canine, Sharp liked being within the Navy and realized a lot from his service, his mom mentioned. He had proposed to his girlfriend as quickly as he acquired dwelling from boot camp with an engagement ring his mom helped him select. 

Jefferson mentioned her son should have hidden his struggles each day he got here dwelling from work. “He never showed his pain,” she mentioned. 

But she needs he had. Jefferson urged different army members to hunt down assist, whether or not from household and associates, different shipmates or army sources.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to anybody,” she mentioned, “because the last thing any parent wants to do is bury their child.”

If you or somebody you understand is in disaster, name the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, textual content HOME to 741741 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/sources for extra sources.

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