Navy acknowledges suicides of 7 sailors assigned to the USS George Washington

Seven Army sailors assigned to the USS George Washington have died by way of suicide all through the time the plane provider has been present process a yearslong overhaul in Newport Information, Virginia, the Army stated Thursday. 

The Army said Thursday that along with the 4 suicides previously 12 months that CBS Information has reported, 3 extra sailors assigned to the provider died by way of suicide in 2019 and 2020. 

The 3 suicides from 2019 and 2020 befell whilst the USS George Washington used to be underneath the command of Capt. Kenneth Sturdy. Consistent with the Army, Sturdy left the send 3 months forward of agenda as a result of “person incidents of deficient judgment and management acumen.” Regardless of his early departure, Sturdy used to be awarded a Legion of Advantage for, amongst different issues, profitable a rating of 98% at the 2019 Protection and Occupational Well being Control Analysis.

The residing and dealing stipulations at the provider provide demanding situations for the sailors. Whilst it is within the shipyard, the George Washington is basically a building zone, the place it may be cramped, sizzling and loud for the group on board. 

One of the vital send’s group advised CBS Information that “it appears like Giant Army has left us out to dry. No one cares.”

US aircraft carrier USS George Washington
U.S. plane provider USS George Washington is noticed all through its undertaking within the jap Mediterranean Sea on February 5, 2017.

USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH / HANDOUT by way of Getty

 After reviews that 3 sailors had died by way of suicide in one week in April, the Army opened an investigation final week into their deaths. It is inspecting whether or not residing stipulations at the provider performed a task within the suicides and whether or not the send’s commanders did the entirety they may to make the stipulations as applicable as imaginable.

The USS George Washington’s overhaul is at the back of agenda — the COVID-19 pandemic and the desire for sudden maintenance have saved the provider within the shipyard for almost a 12 months longer than anticipated. The provider has been docked at Newport Information Shipbuilding for a big overhaul since 2017.

The Army’s most sensible enlisted chief, Grasp Leader Petty Officer of the Army Russell Smith, visited the provider final week and took questions from the sailors. In keeping with a query about residing stipulations at the send, Smith stated, “I believe we most certainly may have executed higher to control your expectancies coming in right here,” in step with audio and a transcript of the discuss with to the provider. 

“What you are now not doing is dozing in a foxhole like a marine could be doing. What you’re doing goes house at night time, maximum nights,” Smith stated, including, “The disadvantage is one of the most shit that you need to undergo logistically will power you loopy.”

The USS George Washington isn’t the primary provider to enjoy a rash of suicides whilst going thru a big overhaul. In September 2019, 3 sailors assigned to the USS George HW Bush died by way of suicide inside of one week because the send used to be going thru a recovery in Virginia. 

The Pentagon in March introduced the Suicide Prevention and Reaction Impartial Assessment Committee to study prevention actions. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stated previous this month that the committee will glance into stipulations around the power together with for the ones on ships. 

For instant assist in case you are in a disaster, name the toll-free Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), to be had 24 hours an afternoon, seven days per week. All calls are confidential.  

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