Navy leadership is examining a cluster of suicides among Sailors assigned to the USS George Washington, after three Sailors took their lives within the space of a week.
The Navy confirmed to several press outlets that the three sailors who died by suicide in mid-April are Retail Services Spec. 3rd Class Mikail Sharp, Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Natasha Huffman and Master at Arms Seaman Recruit Xavier Hunter Mitchell-Sandor. All three were found dead in Virginia, close to the ship’s location in the Newport News shipbuilding facility where it has been undergoing repairs since 2017.
The Navy has said a fourth Sailor assigned to the ship also committed suicide in the past year but has not identified that Sailor by name. Officials are also investigating the deaths of other Sailors that may also have died by suicide – some reports say the total number linked to the ship may be as high as eight or ten.
“The circumstances surrounding these incidents vary and it is premature to make assumptions, as some incidents remain under investigation,” Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Rober Myers told USNI.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby declined to comment in any detail last week but said the Navy is trying to assess what might be behind these events.
“I'm not going to get ahead of the Navy and their investigative efforts on these deaths aboard the… USS George Washington,” he said. “I'd refer you to the Navy to speak to what they're learning, if they can even share that with you right now.”
“I can tell you that the Navy's taking this very seriously, Navy leadership is taking this very seriously, and they're… they're looking at… what has happened on the George Washington and trying to better understand it,” he said.
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