Mother remembers sailor found dead on USS Stennis as 'very humble young man'
By JULIANNE STANFORD | Kitsap Sun, Bremerton, Wash. (Tribune News Service) | Published: November 30, 2017
A 22-year-old sailor was found dead on the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis on Saturday afternoon with "no obvious and apparent cause of death," according to Stennis spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Frederick Martin.
The Navy has identified the sailor as Akiree Pointer, an engineman fireman recruit from Arlington, Texas.
The command is investigating his cause of death, Martin said.
"He was an awesome big brother, amazing friend and a very, very dependable person," said Lonneka Miller, Pointer's mother. "Akiree was a very charismatic, lovable person. A positive energy all his life. A very humble young man."
The Stennis is in port in Bremerton preparing for its next scheduled deployment.
"John C. Stennis and the Navy convey their condolences to the Sailor’s family and friends in their time of loss," the ship's public affairs office said in a press release issued on Tuesday.
Pointer joined the Navy in 2016.
"He had a lot of courage and that's what made him join the Navy," Miller said. "He said he wanted to explore the world."
Miller was excited for her eldest son when he told her he wanted to join the Navy.
"I have three kids and I tell them I want them to dare to dream and he dared to dream," Miller said.
Miller had a close relationship with her son. She said he planned to return home to help her with her small business after he finished serving in the military.
"We had a bond that was unbreakable," Miller said. "I own a garage door business, and he told me, 'Mom, let me travel the world for four years and then I'll come home and assist you with your company.'"
Pointer attended Navy basic training at the Naval Recruit Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois, before joining the crew of the Stennis.
"He told me he was experiencing the happiest time of his life," Miller said.
Pointer's girlfriend initially became concerned on Saturday when she could not get in touch with him and reached out to the sailor's father. After Pointer's father contacted the base to check on his son, Miller said the family was informed of the news of his death.
"It was terrible and I couldn’t imagine it." Miller said. "After knowing he was gone, I knew that Akiree had gone to heaven with the Lord because he had a personal relationship with the Father and Jesus Christ."
Miller said they were told the command had been trying to get in touch with the family up to that point, but the Stennis had been unable to reach them.
Until Pointer's cause of death can be determined, Miller said his family is "just waiting for comfort or notice."
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