I hate reporting stories like this, but they need to get out there so we can bring more awareness to the situation.
Cmdr. Jonathan Volkle, the executive officer of the littoral combat ship USS Marinette, reportedly killed himself aboard the ship while docked in Cleveland.
He was only 44 years old.
Volkle’s death is still being investigated by authorities, but early speculation is that he took his own life.
USNI News reported, “Our thoughts go out to the Volkle’s family during this incredibly difficult period, and we would ask their privacy be respected.
“Littoral Combat Ship Squadron (LCSRON) 2 is providing chaplain and mental health support to the ship’s crew. Cmdr. Janet Brooms will be assigned as executive officer.”
Volkle first enlisted in 2007, and he was commissioned after going through officer candidate school.
He served on the guided-missile frigate USS Kauffman, and guided-missile destroyers USS John McCain and USS Fitzgerald.
He was the commander of the Avenger-class mine countermeasure ship USS Patriot, and had surface assignments at Naval Surface Force Pacific, Japan-based Destroyer Squadron 15, and Littoral Combat Squadron 2.
The USS Marinette is a new ship, having just been commissioned in September.
Volkle has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, three awards of the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and two awards of the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
His death, while a horrible tragedy, will hopefully bring to light the dozens of suicides among our veterans that take place every day.
It was previously believed that roughly 22 service members commit suicide every day, but I have seen recent reports that those estimates were grossly underreported and the number could be almost twice as high.
Regardless, even one is too many, and we need to take better care of our service members both when they are serving and clearly when they get out and are struggling mentally.
Rest in peace, Commander. Thank you for your service and our hearts go out to his crew, family, and friends.