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Navy identifies 4 Norfolk sailors who died by suicide over span of 4 weeks

All four sailors were assigned to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center at Naval Station Norfolk. (Jonathon Gruenke/The Virginian-Pilot/TNS)

The Navy has confirmed the identities of four Naval Station Norfolk sailors who recently died by suicide over a span of four weeks.

The sailors were identified as Kody Decker, Deonte Antwoine Autry, Janelle Holder, and Seaman Cameron Elan Armstrong on Tuesday by Rochelle Rieger, spokesperson for Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center, where all four sailors were assigned at the time of their deaths.

Their deaths are being investigated by the U.S. Navy and local police departments as apparent suicides. The suicides spanned from Oct. 29 to as recently as Nov. 26, according to a spokesperson for the command.

“Our thoughts and our deepest condolences are with these Sailors’ families, loved ones, and co-workers during this extremely difficult time,” said a statement from Chris Wyatt, MARMC spokesperson.

The first suicide was 22-year-old Kody Decker, an electronics technician, on Oct. 29. The Virginia native enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 10, 2018, serving aboard USS Bataan from Dec. 2019 to Aug. 2022 before he reported to MARMC.

On Nov. 5, a second sailor — Cameron Armstrong — died by suicide. He joined the Navy on June 10, 2018, serving as an electronics technician. He reported to the MARMC in November 2019, according to a spokesperson. Armstrong’s age was not immediately available.

Deonte Autry, a 22-year-old machinist mate fireman, died Nov. 14. The North Carolina native served aboard USS George Washington from May 2020 to March 2022 before he reported to MARMC.

The fourth was Janelle Holder, a 39-year-old fire controlman, on Nov. 26. She enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 15, 2018, serving aboard USS Gonzales from Nov. 2019 to January before she reported to MARMC.

Naval Sea Systems Command Investigation will be looking into any possible connection between the four deaths and the events or conditions that led to the deaths, a spokesperson told The Virginian-Pilot on Dec. 2.

“We remain fully engaged with our sailors and their families to ensure their health and well-being, and to ensure a climate of trust that encourages sailors to ask for help. Leadership, chaplains, psychologists, and counselors, are providing support and counseling to MARMC’s grieving workforce and for anyone in need of help,” Wyatt said.

MARMC previously did not identify the sailors, but a spokesperson said Tuesday the command is confirming the identities of the sailors “on a case by case basis when asked.”

The recent rash of suicides comes eight months after three sailors assigned to the Norfolk-based USS George Washington took their own lives within the span of a week.

Resources for service members and veterans struggling with mental health, including 24-hour crisis hotlines, can be found below:

  • The Military Crisis Line: call 1-800-273-8255, ext. 1; or text “273Talk” to 839863
  • Military OneSource: 1-800-342-9647
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988 — call or text


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