Investigation continues into reservist’s death

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 26, 2008

WILLIAMSBURG—A Franklin man who was the postmaster in Newsoms for 15 years died Saturday after an accidental discharge of a weapon during training exercises for Navy reservists.

Petty Officer 1st Class Ron Spivey, 53, with the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group, died from a gunshot wound to the chest during a &uot;scheduled weapons qualification exercise at the Cheatham Annex live firing range,&uot; according to a Navy news release.

It also stated that Spivey was among approximately 40 service members qualifying with 9mm handguns at about 3:15 p.m. when the accident occurred. Spivey was treated at the scene and then taken by ambulance to Riverside Medical Center in Newport News.

He was pronounced dead at 4:33 p.m.

Lt. Penny Cockerell, public affairs officer for the NAVELSG, said the investigation is ongoing and offered few details.

&uot;The investigators are driving the train at this point,&uot; she said.

&uot;I will say that it appears that Petty Officer Spivey did have possession of the handgun at the time of the accident,&uot; she said. Therefore, there is no reason to believe someone else fired the weapon.

Spivey was a member of the reserves for 24 years. He was deployed to Kuwait for seven months in 2005 as part of Navy Customs Battalion PAPA, and was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal for his support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In May 2008, he was affiliated with the Norfolk-based reserve detachment of NAVELSG’s Expeditionary Support Unit.

Spivey’s son, Nick, declined comment about his father’s death.

Boykins Postmaster Nancy Barrett recalled when Spivey started working at the postal service.

Spivey had served as Postmaster of Newsoms Post Office since 1993.

&uot;I trained him at the Courtland Post Office before he (went to) Newsoms,&uot; she said. &uot;He was a likeable fellow — a good person to work with. He’d do anything to help.&uot;

Barrett said they rode together when attending work meetings and chatted often.

&uot;We used each other as sounding boards,&uot; she said.

&uot;(This is) such a shock. It’s not going to be the same without him.&uot;

Cockerell could only speculate about how long the investigation might last.

&uot;I would say a few weeks,&uot; she said. &uot;It could be longer or shorter.&uot;