Washington — The U.S. Navy is investigating a series of suicides among the crew of the same aircraft carrier. There have been four since July.
According to investigators, on September 19, 38-year-old James Shelton was discovered in his vehicle, dead from an apparent gunshot wound. Ethan Stuart, 19, took his life on the very same day. Five days earlier, Vincent Forline's death was also ruled a suicide.
All three served on the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, based in Norfolk, Virginia. Shelton's wife, Jennifer, said she thought he beat his depression.
"I know it felt dark where he was but he was just so close to getting better," she said.
The Navy said the suicides, which didn't happen on the ship, were not connected. The ship's commanding officer said, "there is never any stigma or repercussions from seeking help."
Still, Jennifer Shelton said her husband was afraid he'd lose his job if he revealed his illness.
"As a father of six, he needed every dollar he was making. So he was concerned about taking medication for his depression because he needed his paycheck," she said.
In July, a fourth sailor from that ship took his life. Increasing incidents of suicide have become a problem across the military. Three hundred and twenty-five active duty members died by suicide in 2018, which is the highest number to date.
Rather or not there is a direct connection with aboard ship life or not with these self inflicted deaths as out lined is a question. Depression is a very real situation for it is not just being sad as once my self was to think. Some long past time, a person with this problem related to me that his depression was as if to be in a very bad state of mind, for the feeling was as if of with out hope, with out any way out, a deep fear as being lost. I had not realized or understood that until he discribed it to me.
It is a medical issue and needs be treated as such, it is understandable though of reluctance of those effected to fear being critized with coming forth with this problem for how many of us actually understand it?