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    From Best Friend to Survivor, Albert Hero shares his story of a tragic loss to suicide.

    RAL, NC, UNITED STATES

    11.21.2020

    Courtesy Story

    Navy Recruiting Command

    In more than 15 years of service he had never experienced anything like it. He heard the stories. He knew of others who had, but for him, he thought he’d never have to feel that kind of pain.

    And then he did.

    In 2015, Senior Chief Albert Hero, assistant chief recruiter of officer and prior service recruiting at Navy Recruiting District Raleigh, lost a friend to suicide.

    “I’ve heard about it, I knew of Sailors in a command who have done it, but as far as directly affecting me, my personal life and career, that was the first experience I’ve actually had with suicide,” said Hero, speaking of the death of his close friend Michael Carr in September 2015. ”He was a really good friend of mine and my mentor from my first command Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Three (NMCB3). He was probably one of my best friends ever.”

    Hero met Carr upon checking into NMCB3 in 2000. Hero was a young constructionman fresh out of school and Carr was a construction mechanic third class. Carr was Hero’s sponsor when he checked into the command.

    “He immediately took me under his wing and kept me there the whole time,” said Hero. “We pretty much hit it off from the start and our relationship grew through many deployments. He treated me like his little brother.”

    Hero describes Carr as an all-around great guy.

    “He was the type to light up a room,” said Hero. “He made music, and he was a phenomenal artist. He had two children, and was actually the godfather to my own son Alex. Carr could take a field exercise or ruck march and make them fun. He poked fun at everything. He was the prototypical Navy jokester, always smiling and always positive.”

    Hero went on to describe Carr as a wonderful leader and great role model who loved his family and his children.

    “He loved everyone’s children,” said Hero. “He really was just a great guy.”

    After a long deployment in Felucia, Iraq, Hero left NMCB3 in 2006.

    “That was my last deployment with him,” said Hero. “But we stayed in touch even after I left and went into recruiting in Columbus, Georgia.”

    Hero said Carr continued to call and would send samples of his music. Even their families remained close.

    Carr, through what is commonly known as the Blue to Green program, eventually transitioned from the Navy to become a warrant officer in the Army. According to Hero, he was the same kind of Soldier that he was Sailor - “a good one.”

    “About a week prior to the date of his suicide, he called me,” said Hero.
    “We were actually planning on getting together. I was stationed in Pensacola, Florida, at NORU on instructor duty. He was planning a trip out with his kids and we were planning on getting the families together to just have a little bit of a reunion.”

    That reunion never took place.

    “On the 25th of September of 2015 before learning of his suicide, I was sitting on the porch with my wife and she had run across a post from Mike where he posted unusually early in the morning asking if anybody was available to talk,” said Hero.

    Hero assumes no one saw Carr’s post in time because he posted at two in the morning. Furthermore, on Sep. 26, 2015 there were an extraordinary number of posts giving condolences and mourning about Michael Carr.

    “They said he had taken his life,” said Hero. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought it had to be some kind of joke. He is not that guy. He was a phenomenal Sailor. He was a phenomenal Soldier.”

    Hero reached out to mutual friends as well as Carr’s ex-wife. It was confirmed. Carr had indeed taken his own life.

    “He had missed a formation, or the Army equivalent of what we call a muster,” said Hero. “He had missed that meeting and no one was able to get in touch with him over the phone. So when soldiers went to his place, they found him dead. They tried to revive him but he was pronounced dead on the scene. Mike had overdosed on prescription medication.”

    Michael Carr had done multiple deployments with the Navy and multiple combat deployments with the Army, but Hero never noticed any kind of undue stress. Michael Carr still seemed to be handling life pretty well.

    “You know they say hindsight is 20/20,” said Hero. “Looking back, I can detect little things, like his music being a little bit darker than usual or he didn’t seem as fun loving about certain things. There may have been signs that I and others could have missed, but it just never crossed my mind to ask if he was ok and if everything was good. For the most part he seemed alright.”

    Hero, like others who have suffered the loss of a loved one, has had to cope with the pain and survivor’s guilt.

    “I wish I could have done something,” said Hero. “Sometimes I wish I would have seen that original post, or I wish Mike would have just picked up the phone and called directly. I’ll never understand it. His decision has effected everyone….his family…his friends.”

    Hero wants people to know that it’s okay to reach out for help.

    “Don’t let pride keep you from reaching out,” said Hero. “Don’t let fear keep you from reaching out. I’m a Senior Chief Petty Officer in the Navy and I’ll be the first to tell you that there have been times where I’ve had to talk to people about things I was feeling or going through. Sometimes we need a fresh perspective. Sometimes we need a listening ear.”

    At the end of this year, Navy Recruiting Command will consist of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 26 NTAGs and 64 Talent Acquisition Onboarding Centers (TAOCs) that will serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the world. Their mission is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

    For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, go to http://www.cnrc.navy.mil. Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (www.facebook.com/NavyRecruiting), Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 11.21.2020
    Date Posted: 11.21.2020 20:21
    Story ID: 383530
    Location: RAL, NC, US

    Podcast Hits: 0

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