The loss of a life is a terrible event regardless of how it happens. In the military, all members expect there to be losses in dangerous missions, but not all expeditions involve hostile environments.

At times, there are operations that don’t involve combat or simply have minimal risks involved. However, the lack of hostilities doesn’t mean that lives won’t be lost. In fact, deaths happen much more commonly than anticipated in environments where there is a false sense of security due to the tranquility. In the Navy though, most sailors go their entire careers without seeing combat missions and when a death happens on a ship, it usually comes unexpectedly. During the last three years, the 7th Fleet in Japan has seen numerous amounts of deaths and casualties. While most of them can be attributed to complacency, some might have been completely avoidable.

The 7th Fleet is one of the most active parts of the United States Navy. The ships in it deploy year round, for six months out of the year, on patrols navigating the oceans to prevent foreign entities from wrongfully disrupting free trade and commerce. Needless to say, it’s an important part of the military infrastructure within the United States. However, due to all their movement, 7th Fleet is also exposed to risks that don’t affect the other fleets nearly as much.

The constant deployments put enormous amounts of stress on sailors. As such, suicides are far more common. Their ships are consistently undermanned for a variety of reasons, and that puts an additional workload on each member. The extra work causes a lack of sleep that affects the ability to have good judgment, and it was that same reason which caused the collisions of 2017. Yet, the leadership believes that the sailors need to learn how to work fatigued to complete the mission (disregarding the results of the surveys conducted that same year). It’s not surprising to hear those sailors simply don’t want to go into that part of the Navy or return after a single tour (with some choosing to end their careers as soon as it’s finished). However, some sailors don’t even let the death of others affect them…

(U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nicholas Burgains/Released)

Life goes on after death for the survivors. It’s rather impressive to witness what the human mind will normalize after seeing it in person a few times. To those men and women whose lives are constantly exposed to the dangers around them, normality is a different beast altogether. What might be a complete disaster to others, sailors just see it as a part of their normal lives. Certainly, the loss of a shipmate does have an impact on the lives of others, but to those who hardly knew the person… it doesn’t change anything. Someone will always be there to pick up the slack, and others will simply not feel anything other than the empty feeling that comes with knowing someone around you lost their life. Working in the Navy comes with a lot of risks, but it’s a huge surprise that more people don’t come out with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or worse. Perhaps, it’s all a matter of understanding the deeper meaning of sacrificing your life for your country.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Emmanuel "Dash the Bomber" Barbosa

Emmanuel Barbosa, AKA Dash The Bomber, is currently serving in the 7th fleet, and has over 8 years of experience in the military. A writer with a penchant for the humorous and informative, he loves to share his stories with those who would be willing to listen. Having served in deployments that have taken him around the world, Dash has seen and heard about many things that would be hard to believe. A loving father and a faithful husband, he is dedicated to protecting his family and country. For fun he enjoys cosplaying, videogames, and writing for online magazines.

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