Less than a year after three sailors assigned to the USS George Washington died by suicide over a one-week span, another sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier has taken his own life. "On Jan. 23, 2023, a Sailor assigned to USS George Washington (CVN 73) passed away at a private residence in Newport News, Va.," the Navy says in a statement. "Our thoughts and condolences are with the family, friends, and shipmates of the Sailor. Embedded chaplains, mental health providers, and leaders are engaged with the crew and are available to provide appropriate support and counseling to those grieving this unexpected loss."
The ship has been docked at a shipyard in Newport News for major repairs and overhaul since 2017; the work has taken longer than expected, and a Navy investigation found that the stress related to living in such an environment—cramped, hot, loud, with construction going on—was a "contributing factor" in at least one of last year's suicides. "We’re dealing with a group of sailors who’ve trained for a particular mission, but they’re carrying out activities that were sort of not what they trained for, and what they went into the Navy for," says Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, per WTKR. Lawmakers are pushing for a task force and other forward progress on mental health care for military service members. (Read more Navy stories.)