A U.S. Navy sailor assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) aircraft carrier died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Tuesday morning while standing on guard duty on a pier at Naval Air Station North Island, California.
The sailor has not been identified and the Navy is still working to complete its next-of-kin notification process. The incident occurred at around 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning Navy spokesman Brian O’Rourke told Navy Times.
Navy Region Southwest spokesman Jay Delarosa told USNI News that the male sailor “was standing security watch on Lima Pier” when he “suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
Following the incident, the sailor was taken by ambulance to the University of California-San Diego Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
O’Rourke said the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is investigating the incident.
The sailor’s death came on the same day the Theodore Roosevelt was due to be underway for “routine training at sea,” Naval Air Forces spokesman Cmdr. Zachary Harrell told Navy Times.
The same aircraft carrier saw an outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus during its last deployment, which resulted in the ship being sidelined in Guam for much of April and May and around a quarter of its crew becoming infected. One sailor aboard the aircraft carrier died of coronavirus following the outbreak. The aircraft carrier returned to sea on May 21 and returned from its deployment in July.
Sources within the aircraft carrier’s community told Navy Times that the ship’s crew was told in September to expect to deploy again anywhere from November to January, putting them back at sea just months after the completion of their last deployment.
The Navy has not confirmed any details about potential future deployments to Navy Times, but officials said the ship is in a phase where it must be ready to deploy on “short notice.”
Navy officials said “deployment resiliency” resources and other assistance are available to the carrier’s crew and family members.