Three more sailors commit suicide while the aircraft carrier is stranded at the shipyard

Three more crew members on board Navy The aircraft carrier under repair has died by suicide in the past two months, with the latest death on Monday.

Commando Navy spokesman Robert Myers confirmed that a sailor stationed on the aircraft carrier USS George Washington died Monday at his private residence in Newport News, Virginia. He told he believes the death was a suicide. has not released the names of the sailors because the Navy said it had not completed notifying the families.

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Meanwhile, the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, undergoing maintenance at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington State, lost Boatswains Mate 3rd Class Christopher Carroll and Electricians Mate (Nuclear) 3rd Class on 18 January. Jacob Slocum on December 5th.

Lieutenant Ship spokesman Benjamin Anderson confirmed the deaths to but said both were under investigation. confirmed that the cause of death of the sailor was suicide.

The suicides aboard the George Washington come just a month after the Navy released its first report of the last three suicides experienced by the ship in April. first reported The sailor was told by the captain, Captain Brent Gout, that he had experienced ten suicides in less than a year.

The Navy has put forward different and lower figures since then, but has never confirmed or denied what Gout told the crew. Revealed to date back to November 2011.

One of the key aspects connecting the two carriers is the shipyard environment that exists today. Navy leaders have repeatedly admitted difficult and challenging.

The sailor was on board the George Washington from April 2021 until his suicide. forced the navy to remove the crew from the ship end of April last year. Following the suicide, living conditions on board, with frequent outages of heat, ventilation, power and running water, as well as constant construction noise and debris, emerged as the main complaints of the crew.

A recently released Navy study It turns out that sailors rely on sleeping in their cars and paying rent in town, despite having no housing allowance.

A study of three suicides in April found: Not directly related to living environment Since 2017, a huge docking ship at the shipyard, The report also revealed the climate Leaders were unaware of the sailors’ problems, and a distrustful Navy with inadequate efforts to provide mental health care.

Roosevelt is undergoing renovations, as is Washington. The ship has been at her Puget Sound shipyard since August 2021, but Anderson noted that none of the approximately 2,700 sailors on board are on board.

But Slocum’s family told that conditions at the shipyard and an uncaring chain of command took a toll on the young sailor.

The sailor’s stepmother, Elspeth Slocum, made it difficult for him to qualify because of the long working hours, and as a result his superiors sent him to the captain’s mast. Commander.

Elspeth said she spoke with her son-in-law a few days before the captain’s mast.

“He tried very hard to get his certification that day by finding an officer who would test him,” she told on Thursday before adding, “He failed.” .

In another instance, Elspeth said her son-in-law told her he spent four hours looking for a police officer to help him qualify.

When asked Anderson about the captain’s mast, he said, “Performance at work is being investigated as part of an ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Jacob Slocum.” “Further details beyond that are an ongoing investigation at this time.”

Elspeth said that a young sailor had “broken down and requested a transfer” during the captain’s mast, but was denied. rice field. This is usually a punishment that means the sailors are not free to leave the ship. Trying to cheer him up, she tried to mail him his favorite tea.

“He never received them,” she said. “A few weeks later he died by his own hand.”

“Caring for and enhancing the mental and physical health and well-being of seafarers is a sacred trust in leadership of the USS Theodore Roosevelt at all levels, regardless of job performance,” Anderson said.

In response to the deaths of Slocum and Carol, Anderson emphasized that the ship had added additional resources.

“We will remain fully engaged with seafarers and their families to ensure their health and well-being and to ensure an environment of trust and transparency that encourages seafarers to seek help,” Anderson said.

Myers told that the George Washington carrier “enables chaplains, mental health providers and leaders to engage with the crew and provide appropriate support and counseling.”

“Following the announcement, several one-on-one engagements occurred and information on support resources was also distributed to sailors in the division,” he added.

Top Navy leaders have recently begun to speak more openly and urgently About the service’s fight against suicide prevention.

The Navy’s chief executive, Admiral Michael Gilday, recently said the problem kept him up at night and that mental health was a “thorny problem” for the Navy.

“We have access to mental health facilities,” he said. “We have a resilience team [amphibious readiness groups] Carrier strike groups, and that’s still not enough. ”

In a conversation with reporters, Gilday said Navy Secretary Carlos del Toro was “very interested in a final investigation into the incident.” [George Washington] It shows in more detail what investments should be made for improvement. ”

— Konstantin Toropin can be reached at [email protected] follow him on twitter @ktoropin.

Related: ‘Hang on, I need you’: Top Navy officer opens up about suicidal worries