GLENDALE, AZ, U.S.A.
AIRCREW AVIATION ELECTRICIAN’S MATE STRIKER, HELICOPTER SEA COMBAT SQUADRON 28, NORFOLK,VA
06/25/2018, NORFOLK, VA, U.S.A.
Aircrew Aviation Electrician’s Mate Striker Brandon Caserta, 21 died by suicide on June 25, 2018. An investigation found that leadership at Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28 in Norfolk, Virginia, “contributed” to his decision to take his own life.
In the weeks leading up to Brandon Caserta’s death, friends said little seemed amiss with the smiling sailor they knew from the “gedunk,” or canteen, at Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28 out of Norfolk, Virginia.
A goofy, happy-go-lucky type, Brandon Caserta was usually the first to volunteer for “cleaning duty, aircraft wash or field day,” squadron mates said. Sure, he regretted breaking a leg at Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School two years before, an injury that forced him to drop out of training to become a SEAL. He was a trooper always.
“He was the kind of person that would drop whatever he was doing to help someone else. Day or night, rain or shine, he was always there,” hometown friend Destini Mohn said in a Facebook post on his memorial page.
“Brandon was home for a few weeks [in May 2018] and he was happy, making plans for Christmas,” said his father, Patrick Caserta, a retired Navy career counselor with 22 years of service. “He was a loving, caring, friendly kid.”
But the 21-year-old aircrew aviation electrician’s mate striker, or AEAN, did confide to friends via text that he was depressed about BUD/S and unhappy with his rating, which he felt forced to choose from a limited selection after leaving the SEAL training pipeline.
Brandon has always lived by his karate code words: Honor, Respect, Patience and Kindness. He was a very happy, compassionate, giving, supportive and respectful young man. His smile was so contagious. No matter what he was doing, he would smile. He had a great personality and made you laugh. He was always joking around. He always found and saw the good in people. When he ran into the bad people he would try to look for the good in them and try to bring it out of them. He never placed judgment on anyone.
He touched so many lives in such a short time. Brandon was very athletic and took karate, swimming, football and track. He was always on the go. If he wasn’t doing sports, he was working out. Brandon was in karate for 17 years. He played flag football for about 10 years and graduated to tackle football. He was on his high school team freshman and sophomore years. He took swim lessons, joined the USA Swim team and swam for his high school. Brandon did not like swimming at all at first, but then he learned the breast stroke and that was his favorite stroke.
Brandon decided to join the Navy and worked very hard to get a Navy SEAL contract. He worked out with a great bunch of guys who he helped and pushed so they could get their contracts as well. Brandon would ride his bike everywhere. He put at least 17 miles a day on his bike and did this for about four years. Brandon would work out for hours and that was after riding his bike.
Brandon touched more people than he realizes. He helped so many of his friends and was very supportive and compassionate. He was a great son, grandson, cousin and friend. Brandon, you will be missed by so many and we are so proud of you. We are honored God put you in our lives.
Brandon is survived by his mom Teri, dad, Patrick, maternal grandparents Fran & Larry Myhre, paternal grandmother Rosemary Wehbe, aunt Renae Myhre, uncle Tim Caserta and five cousins Eric, Junior, Jessica, Bobby & Michael.