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Sailor Dies After Being Found With Gunshot Wound

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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan -- A 19-year-old USS Essex sailor was pronounced dead at a San Diego hospital Thursday after being found with a gunshot wound, Navy officials said.

Medical personnel aboard the amphibious assault ship Essex responded Thursday morning after the sailor was found aboard the ship, said Naval Surface Force Pacific spokesman Lt. Rick Chernitzer.

The sailor was immediately evacuated to the University of California-San Diego Regional Trauma Center, Chernitzer said.

Navy officials could not confirm the cause of death, as the incident remains under investigation. The sailor's name has not been released, pending notification of next-of-kin.

"Anytime we lose a shipmate, it's a tragedy for us," Chernitzer said. "Our heartfelt sympathies go out to her family and friends and shipmates."

USS Essex is currently homeported in San Diego. It was homeported at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, until last year, when it switched places with the USS Bonhomme Richard.

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