NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The U.S. Navy confirmed the names of four sailors who died by suicide while stationed at Naval Station Norfolk. All four sailors died over the span of a month while working at the same command: The Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC).
Those sailors are: Petty Officer Kody Lee Decker, Petty Officer Deonte Antwoine Autry, Petty Officer Janelle Nichole Holder, and Seaman Cameron Elan Armstrong.
The Navy released pictures of Decker, Autry, and Holder with permission from their families.
Local police departments and the Navy are investigating the circumstances surrounding the suicides, but a MARMC spokesperson confirmed they were separate incidents.
“We mourn the loss of our shipmates and friends. Our thoughts and our deepest condolences are with these sailors’ families, loved ones, and coworkers during this extremely difficult time. 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.”MARMC Spokesperson
Petty Officer Kody Lee Decker
Petty Officer Kody Lee Decker, of Virginia, enlisted in the Navy on Sept. 10, 2018. He served as an electronics technician. He was stationed aboard USS Bataan from December 2019 until August when he reported to MARMC.
Decker received several awards and decorations during his service:
- Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist
- Navy “E” Ribbon (3)
- Good Conduct Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
- Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
- Pistol Marksman
Decker died on Oct. 29. His family remembers the 22-year-old as a beloved father, husband, and friend. They will miss his vivacious personality and unique outlook on life, according to his obituary.
His mother, Melissa Will, issued the following statement on behalf of Decker’s family:
Four sailors died by their own hands because they felt they had no other way to eliminate the pain they were experiencing. The Navy should be held accountable for not providing them with the adequate care and resources they deserve. They have volunteered to serve our country, and they are not getting the care they deserve. Plenty of funding goes towards new subs, aircraft carriers, etc., but why isn’t there any funding going into mental health care and resources? The big question everyone wants to know is, why is the Brandon Act yet to be implemented? Had my son and other sailors been afforded the confidentiality of seeking help that you and I get with HIPAA and what the Brandon Act will bring, these tragic outcomes may have been very different. We will never know, though. We are never getting Kody back. The other families are never getting Cameron, Deonte, and Janelle back. The Navy continues failing to take care of their most important and invaluable assets: Their people.Melissa Will, mother of Petty Officer Kody Lee Decker
Petty Officer Deonte Antwoine Autry
Petty Officer Deonte Antwoine Autry, of North Carolina, enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 26, 2019. He served as a machinist mate fireman. He was stationed aboard USS George Washington from May 2020 until March when he reported to MARMC.
Autry was 22 years old when he died on Nov. 14. He graduated from Parkwood High School in Monroe, N.C. in 2019 before enlisting in the Navy. He enjoyed played video games, basketball, working out, going to the beach, and cooking, according to his obituary.
Petty Officer Janelle Nichole Holder
Petty Officer Janelle Nichole Holder, of North Carolina, enlisted in the Navy on Nov. 15, 2018. She served as a fire controlman. She served aboard USS Gonzalez from November 2019 until January when she reported to MARMC. She received the national Defense Service Medal during her service.
Seaman Cameron Elan Armstrong
Seaman Cameron Elan Armstrong, of Florida, enlisted in the Navy on June 14, 2018. He served as an electronics technician. He was a student at the Surface Combat Systems Training Command from August 2018 until he reported to MARMC in November 2019.
The Military has mental health resources available to service members, veterans, and their families. Some of those resources include:
- Military OneSource
- The Psychological Health Center of Excellence
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health Resources
- The Military Crisis Line: Call at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text at 838255
If you or a loved one is in crisis, use these resources to seek help:
- Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Dial 988, open 24 hours a day
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255)