(MENAFN) Seaman Devon Faehnrich, an electronics technician (navigation) assigned to the USS Montana, died by suicide this week. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, according to a spokesperson for Virginia's office of the chief medical examiner. Faehnrich was found unresponsive on March 27 on the pier next to the submarine by another crew member at Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipyard. He was taken to Riverside Regional Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
Faehnrich enlisted in the Navy in April 2021 and reported to the USS Montana at the end of March 2022. The submarine was commissioned in June 2022 and is currently docked at Newport News Shipbuilding, where it is completing a planned maintenance period known as a post-shakedown availability. The Navy is offering grief counseling services and support through the chain of command and the command chaplain.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is conducting an investigation into Faehnrich's death. His suicide is the latest in a rash of Navy suicides in Virginia over the past year. At least eight other Navy suicides have occurred in the state during this time period.
Four sailors assigned to the USS George Washington aircraft carrier have died by suicide since last April, with three occurring in a single week. Additionally, four sailors assigned to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC) in Norfolk died by suicide late last year. A Navy investigation into the three April USS GW suicides concluded that the suicides were not connected but did raise concerns about living conditions in a shipyard. The USS GW has been at Newport News Shipbuilding undergoing a years-long overhaul and maintenance period.
The Navy is working to address the issue of suicide among its sailors, offering resources and support to those in need. However, the recent string of suicides highlights the need for continued efforts to address the mental health and well-being of Navy personnel.
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