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Navy sailor dies after fall from building at Yokosuka base

Ambulance (Dreamstime/TNS)
March 15, 2023

A 22-year-old U.S. Navy sailor was pronounced dead on Monday after falling from a housing building on base in Yokosuka, Japan. 

While the sailor has not been identified, according to Stars and Stripes, a spokesman for Yokosuka Naval Base, Randall Baucom, confirmed the event was under investigation. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sailor’s family, friends, and the crew of USS Ronald Reagan during this difficult time,” Baucom wrote. “As with any situation where a Sailor passes away, the incident is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.” 

Bascom added that the command is well-equipped to provide support in light of the event. 

“The command has three Chaplains, a psychologist, a mental health technician and a Deployed Resiliency Counselor to assist any sailor grieving the loss of their shipmate,” he said.

READ MORE: Probe into sailor suicides reveals taxed mental health system aboard USS George Washington

The USS Reagan has faced other tragedies in recent years. In 2022, three soldiers, all assigned to the same department on board the ship, attempted suicide within three months of one another, as reported by Stars and Stripes. 

An enlisted sailor assigned to the carrier pressed Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy James Honea for answers regarding the Navy’s investigation into the deaths during a meeting at Yokosuka in February. 

Honea reportedly stated he was unaware of the situation, but 7th Fleet spokeswoman Lieutenant Kristina Wiedemann later reached out to Stars and Stripes with emailed clarification on the incidents and investigation.  

“We conducted Investigations into each of these cases,” Wiedemann wrote. “In each case, underlying causes were found to be case specific and not related.” 

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

On March 1, the Navy released a new mental health strategy manual in an attempt to aid service members in recognizing the warning signs of potential problems among Sailors. 

Titled the “Mental Health Playbook,” the manual advises command leaders on how to approach Sailors they suspect are experiencing struggles. A key component, the manual stresses, is a demonstration of compassion and understanding. 

The Navy also announced that it plans to have Chaplains assigned to all Navy destroyers by 2025, to provide counseling services to serving members. 

The Department of Defense reported 519 active duty service member suicides in 2021, across all branches. 

Service members or their loved ones are encouraged to reach out to available resources in times of crisis, including direct commands, chaplains, and Military OneSource. The Veterans Crisis Line, reachable by dialing 988, provides free, confidential counseling services for all veterans.