Depression and suicide are real and devastating threats to veteran service members. The threat is no less serious to those currently serving, either.
The US Navy, along with family and friends of Vice Admiral Scott Stearney are dealing with this sobering truth in the wake of the three-star admiral’s apparent suicide.
According to a video statement released by Navy chief of operations Admiral John Richardson, Stearney’s body was found in his home in Bahrain on Saturday, Nov. 1.
“This is devastating news for the Stearney family, for the team at Fifth Fleet and for the entire Navy,’ Richardson said. “Scott Stearney was a decorated Naval warrior. He was a devoted husband and father, and he was a good friend to all. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Bahraini Ministry of the Interior are cooperating on the investigation, but at this time no foul play is suspected.”
Stearney, 58, was in charge of the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which comprises more than 20,000 sailors, patrolling 2.5 million square miles of water in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, and the Upper Indian Ocean. A massive amount of the world’s commercial gas and oil shipments are channeled through this region.
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According to CBS News, Chicago-born Stearney joined the Navy in 1982 after graduating from the University of Notre Dame. Throughout the ’80s, Stearney logged over 4,500 mishap-free hours of flight and 1,000 carrier-arrested landings in the cockpit of an FA-18 Hornet. He previous to his tenure as Vice Admiral, which began in May 2018, Stearney served as director of operations for U.S. Central Command.
“I’d just ask that everybody keep the Stearney family in their thoughts and prayers as they move through this and also maybe to respect their privacy as they navigate these very, very difficult waters,” Richardson said.
The New York Times reports that Vice Admiral James Malloy, a deputy chief of naval operations, has been called to take over as interim commander of the Fifth Fleet, currently being led by Rear Admiral Paul J. Schlise, the deputy commander.
Hear the Navy’s official statement in the video below.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.