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Navy Sailor dies aboard deployed warship

Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class Nicholas Woods. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
August 23, 2022

A U.S. Navy sailor died aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), last week after the ship deployed at sea.

On Saturday, the Navy first identified the deceased sailor as 26-year-old Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class Nicholas Woods. His body was found aboard the ship on Thursday, Aug. 18.

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The Navy has not released an official cause of death determination.

A Virginia native, Woods joined the Navy in 2020. After completing initial recruit training, he attended Surface Combat Systems Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois and San Diego. He reported for duty with the USS Leyte Gulf in August of 2021. 

“The loss of a friend or loved one is always tragic, and even more so when they are young, dedicated to service, and sailing into harm’s way,” said the ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Michael Weeldreyer. “Sonar Technician Surface 3rd Class Nicholas Woods was one of those young people.”

“My deepest condolences and prayers are with his family and friends,” Weeldreyer continued. “He was an important part of the Leyte Gulf family, and we will ensure that the family and our Sailors have all available resources and support as they navigate this difficult time.”

USS Leyte Gulf recently deployed alongside the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group. The group departed from Naval Station Norfolk, on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

The Bush Carrier Strike Group also includes the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119), USS Farragut (DDG 99) and USS Truxtun (DDG 103).

Another U.S. Navy sailor, Seaman Recruit David L. Spearman, was declared dead after falling overboard the destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) earlier this month. The Navy declared Spearman was deceased after calling off search and rescue efforts to find and recover him.

Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Darren Collins, another sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) was found unresponsive while the ship was pier side at Naval Air Station North Island in California in July. Members of the Navy Region Southwest Federal Fire Department responded to the scene and pronounced Collins deceased.

Sailor Amare Long was found dead aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD-5) in April. The Norfolk, Virgina-based ship was docked at its homeport at the time of Long’s death. The ship has since deployed.

Three more sailors who were assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) were found dead in the span of a week in April. Those deaths come as the ship is undergoing a lengthy overhaul at the Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding facility in Virginia.