Investigation underway after wave of suicides by sailors on USS George Washington – New York Daily News

At least four Navy sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington have died by suicide in the past 12 months and a further three have committed suicide in recent years, the Navy said.

The devastating death toll includes three sailors who were found dead within a week in April, military officials said.

Most recently, 29-year-old Captain-at-arms Seaman Recruit Xavier Hunter Sandor died by suicide aboard the docked nuclear-powered ship, according to the Navy and the office of the state’s chief medical examiner. He was found dead on April 15, NBC News reported.

Sandor, a sports enthusiast, had been on the ship for three months.

Five days earlier, Natasha Huffman, an interior communications electrician, died by suicide outside the base in Hampton. She was 24.

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Retail Services Specialist 3rd Class Mika’il Rayshawn Sharp also died by suicide outside the Portsmouth base just a day earlier, on April 9, his family said.

The fourth sailor, who has not been identified, died in 2021.

On Thursday, officials also confirmed to CBS News that three more sailors assigned to the carrier had died by suicide in 2019 and 2020.

The USS George Washington is currently docked in the Virginia city of Newport News, undergoing an overhaul delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The upgrade of its combat systems and the refueling of its reactors should keep the ship in service for years to come, but recurring delays have made living conditions unbearable for those on board.

Sailors are sometimes forced to go without running water, working bathrooms and hot meals, the Washington Post reported.

The Navy is currently investigating whether living conditions on the aircraft carrier played a role in the suicides and whether the ship’s commanders did everything they could to improve conditions.

Officials don’t expect the ship to leave port in December in any case.

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