String of Suicides on an Aircraft Carrier

| April 27, 2022


USS George Washington (CVN-73)

As sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier George Washington coped with three suicides among their shipmates in the recent past weeks, the ship continued a lengthy and extended maintenance overhaul in the depths of Newport News, Virginia. Times without power or working heads for those living onboard are a common occurrence. Commuting is dangerous, too. Downtown is a DMZ, and secure parking a fantasy. This overhaul is in its fifth year, long past scheduled.
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith, the Navy’s top enlisted sailor, brought a blunt message during a visit Friday.

“Things could be worse.”

They could indeed.

10 Deaths in 10 Months: String of Suicides on a Single Aircraft Carrier

Military.com | By Konstantin Toropin

On the morning of April 11, Capt. Brent Gaut, the commander of the USS George Washington — an aircraft carrier undergoing major shipyard work at Newport News, Virginia — got on the ship’s intercom.

Two sailors had died on April 9 and 10, and Gaut was alerting the crew that those deaths were the eighth and ninth suicides the ship had experienced in nine months, three sailors who heard the announcement told Military.com on the condition of anonymity to avoid retaliation.

One explained that Gaut, talking to the crew first thing in the morning, went on to tell sailors to reach out and talk to someone if they needed help and that resources were available to them. That sailor described it as what “they say after they have a suicide every time.”

Four days after the announcement, another sailor was “found unresponsive on board the ship,” a Navy spokesperson confirmed to Military.com, and the sailor later died at a hospital in Newport News.

Military.com

So, things are worse. It’s pretty telling when the MCPON can accurately access a situation and does nothing to correct it. This smacks of Jimmy Carter’s Hollow Military.

David put me on this one a couple days ago.

Category: Blue Falcons, Dick Stepping, Guest Link, Navy

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HT3

Yard periods suck, and the more extensive the work the worse it is for the crew. The crew usually stays in a barracks type location except for working hours and duty days when you’re in some makeshift, communal berthing. Almost nobody works in their rating because most systems are secured, being replaced, or rebuilt. As HT’s, we ran the Fire Watch Division. All E-4 and below would go with the Yard Birds & have a fire bottle and be there in case of a fire. If they’re working on a bulkhead or a deck, you need someone of the side as well. The ship is a mess, nothing works, tons of noise 24/7 and everybody bitches about being in Fire Watch. Like I said, it sucks in the yards.

Deckie

Yard periods also suck on the merchant side of the fence. When open jobs appear on the hiring board that no one wants they often wind up being shipyard gigs.

Bahrain in July/August with AC and plumbing secured except for one head/shower in sick bay and windows removed to replace seals while the house is being sandblasted and repainted? No thanks. Add to that the fact you’re restricted to the ship the whole time because of phony COVID scares and double the disdain.

HT3

^I think it was a double-whammy of The Shipyard Blues & COVID. You hear/read about the psychological damage the lockdowns caused and then you compound it with going through a major overhaul and young kids away from home for the first time. It was a recipe for disaster.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

We were in drydock in the Philly yards for a refit in 1965-1966 if I remember to get it ready to switch home ports from Norfolk NOB to San Diego on Jan. of 1967. We had Yard Birds bussed down from the Brooklyn Yards daily and the space for the burners and welders which I forgot their shop numbers were in the forward hanger bay in AirDale country across from the Snipe Diesel Engine repair shop where I worked. I did fire watches with the burners equipped with a C0 2 extinguisher and got friendly and rode up to Brooklyn on a couple of Fridays for 72’s. Every morning the head guy comes in and says drop your cocks and pick up your socks and get the fuck out of here after coffee. We always had water in and out of drydock so I don’t know what went on in Newport News. I never had to show a fresh air chit either. cumshored a tin of coffee for half inch globe valves for the washing machines which we got faster than the ones ordered.

ninja

AW1Ed:

On the comment “Downtown is a DMZ”…

Not a true statement. May I please inquire where that statement came from?

On the comment “Commuting is dangerous”…

Not a true statement. May I please inquire where that statement came from?

On the comment “Secure parking is a fantasy”…

For what its worth, the Sailors are not the only workers at the Newport News Shipyard. The Shipyard has been working on improving the parking situation in that area since March 2021. Parking has ALWAYS been a problem…for YEARS..

Am very skeptical about indirectly tying the recent suicides of the three Sailors to the George Washington being ported at the Newport News Shipyard as well as to MCPON. The MCPON does not control the parking situation or the commuting situation.

The “investigation” is gonna be interesting… AND there is an upcoming election in the Newport News district that some Democrat politicians don’t want to lose their positions…

ninja

https://www.wtkr.com/investigations/news-3-i-team-learns-more-about-questions-from-sailors-onboard-uss-gw-after-three-suicides

Elaine Luria is up for reelection again.

She has and still is heavily endorsed by Nancy Pelosi and rode on Pelosi’s coattails.

She is from Mountain Brook, Alabama, “Old School Money” area. She went to the most expensive Private school in Alabama (outside of Birmingham, Al). She then had her college degree paid for by taxpayers (Naval Acadamy).

She has never been poor, never had to do without. She is a Trustfund baby. She owns a private business. Both her and husband are drawing military retirement as well as her income in Congress.

She is now getting on the suicide “bandwagon” because of the upcoming November election.

There is more to this story that is not being publicized.

Mick

Elaine Luria

— GROAN —

ninja

Mick:

You know EXACTLY what we are talking about….

Maverick from THAT MOVIE could do a better job than her…

ninja

Yep. Another Pelosi Wannabee…

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Skivvy Stacker

Somebody should drop a house on her.

5JC

Newport News is safer than 19% of all US cities.

https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/va/newport-news/crime

Norfolk is safer than 10%. These are not great numbers.

ninja

5JC:

The mass majority of crimes in Newport News are Blacks against Blacks.

The Shipyard is located in Newport News right next to Hampton, home of Hampton University, Langley Air Force Base and Fort Monroe

Newport News lies adjacent to Fort Eustis. Up the road is Yorktown, home of the Coast Guard.

Hampton Roads to include the Penisula are Military heavy…Army/Navy/Air Force Marines/Coast Guard. Typical traffic problems include Interstate 64 with a couple of Tunnels.

Two of the suicides died in Hampton. The other Sailor died on the ship from a self inflicted gun shot wound.

The “investigation” is driven by politics. Those Sailors deaths are being used by a Pelosi wannabe name Elaine Luria. Look her up. She knows her days are numbered. Hampton voted in the last election a Black Conservative Republican to take the place of a White Democrat Woman. What does that tell you? Newport News is being run by Bobby Scott (look him up).

ninja

The Navy has nothing to do with those Sailors committing suicide.

Suicide is Self-Inflicted due to depression/personality disorder, some which are genetic in nature. Yes, mental illness is genetic.

The George Washington Chain of Command, the Shipyard Chain of Command, Newport News, the Navy Chain of Command, DoD, etc have nothing to do with a Sailor killing themselves. The Sailors alone are responsible for their own deaths.

The “Investigation” is gonna be interesting. Those Sailors most likely had deep mental issues when they joined the Navy, but hid it.

Remember Robin Williams?

ninja

Check out this 2007 article about 3 suicides that happened at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait within CFLCC’s Contracting Command. Those Army Soldiers killed themselves because they got caught doing illegal stuff. One of the suicides already had mental issues:

https://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/19/nyregion/19about.html

ninja

A Black teenager from Hampton that was high on pot and booze got on I-64, weaving in and out of traffic at high speed. She lost control of her car and crashed into another vehicle, killing a White married Airman that had 2 kids and was getting ready to retire. He was on his way to work at Langley Air Force Base. She escaped from her car and ran away from the accident (hit and run).

That story only stayed in the news 1 day. 1 day! Not a peep from Bobby Scott or Luria.

A White Female LEO who was with the Newport News Police Department and also a Navy Veteran as well as a single parent was killed by a Black Man when she pulled him over. He took off dragging her away when she tried to arrest him. Not a peep from Bobby Scott or Luria.

Those two USE people for their own political purposes. We are not stupid. Luria knows that the end is coming for her time at the Beltway, ESPECIALLY after Glenn Youngkin beat Ole Terry Boy. She is hiding behind those Sailors suicides.

5JC

Maybe, maybe not. The numbers are very high and suicide contagion within a peer group is a real thing. I worked in a battalion once that had 7 in less than 3 years. The battalion had less than 300 people in it and the leadership was directly responsible, culpable in one case. They were all relieved eventually.

MI Ranger

5JC I would agree with you, and not Ninja. While many of these individuals may be susceptible their ability to go forward it is directly affected by the Command Culture. The Senior Enlisted (E-9) should be calling in his/her Chiefs and ensure they are looking their Sailors in the eye and know what they are going through. Identify who is vulnerable and high risk. Then make a plan to build morale (if possible) and get them help when possible. Yes, the common tasks suck, but making the most of it will make them better Sailors.

MI Ranger

I had a Soldier who lost his clearance right as we deployed (his wife got a bit spendy and he had to clean up the mess). For a Military Intelligence Soldier this is a death sentence. He didn’t complain. When I counseled him on what he needed to do to get his clearance back and what the time frame looked like, he asked me if he could permanently volunteer for the details that would come down during our deployment so his Soldiers could do their job (yes he was an NCO). I saw nothing wrong with this and he gamed the system. He knew the details got handed out first come first out. He got their early and took the “News Paper” delivery, where he baby sat a local putting out the Stars and Stripes around Camp Victory. He learned the language, and had a practice partner. By the time he left he was fluent. His next deployment he was able to sharp shoot the linguists on what came through his desk!

Anonymous

Well, they both still suck ass.

ninja

USS George Washington Sailor Found Aboard Carrier Died From Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound, Say Local Officials”

https://news.usni.org/2022/04/22/uss-george-washington-sailor-died-from-self-inflicted-gunshot-wound-aboard-carrier-say-local-officials

“A sailor assigned to USS George Washington (CVN-73) died last week from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on the carrier..”

“According to a determination from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia, Master-at-Arms Seaman Recruit Xavier Hunter Mitchell-Sandor died from suicide by gunshot wound on April 15.”

“The Navy has experienced multiple suicides by on-duty armed sailors since December of 2019..”

“In 2019, three sailors assigned to USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) committed suicide while the ship was in a 30-month maintenance period at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Norfolk, Va”

ninja

“On December 4, 2019, Machinist Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Romero, 22, who was on watch for USS Columbia (SSN-771) while the submarine was in maintenance at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Hawaii, killed two civilian shipyard workers and then himself.”

On Oct. 13, 2020, Seaman Isaiah Peralta, on duty aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while standing a security watch on Lima Pier at North Island, Calif.”

On March 17, 2021, Torpedoman’s Mate 3rd Class Petty Officer Manuel Julian Jr., 23, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while standing watch on USS Charlotte (SSN-766), which was in port for maintenance at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.”

ninja

Three Sailors chose to END their lives:

3 USS George Washington Sailors Took Their Own Lives In One Week: Report”

https://nypost.com/2022/04/22/3-uss-george-washington-sailors-took-their-own-lives-in-one-week/

Texas National Guardsman Bishop E. Evans chose to SAVE two lives and died by drowning.

“Body of Missing Texas Guardsman Bishop E. Evans Is Found”

https://nypost.com/2022/04/25/missing-texas-guardsman-idd-as-bishop-e-evans/

“The body of missing Texas National Guardsman Bishop E. Evans was found Monday morning, three days after he dove into the Rio Grande on the Texas-Mexico border to save two migrants attempting to cross the treacherous waters and enter the US illegally.”

“… the two migrants involved were crossing the river into the US “illegally” and were a part of “illicit transnational narcotics trafficking.” They remained in custody as of Saturday.”
Focus needs to be more on Evans than the Sailors.

Rest In Peace, Soldier.

Bishop Evans.jpg
UpNorth

Don’t forget, according to Wacky Psaki, he was “a state employee”. I guess that means that her, Biden and the rest of the bureaucracy doesn’t care that he died, or why.

Martinjmpr

Unfortunately the worst thing to do in a situation like this is exactly what everybody is likely to do: (a) jump to conclusions about the “cause” of these suicides and (2) use said conclusion to justify whatever beliefs they already have about the Navy, the military, Norfok, Virginia, and of course “kids these days.”  🙄 

So my first thought is: IS there any connection or common factor? Automatically “assuming” a connection between the GW refit and the suicides is as misguided as the “22 a day” nonsense we hear over and over WRT veterans in general. A statement can be both factually true and misleading at the same time.

ninja

Martinjumper:

Yep. Yep. And YEP.

We are not stupid what is going on.

Have sympathy for families that lose a love one thru suicide, but am fed up with the “Blame Excuse” as to why they took their own lives.

Those YOUNG Sailors most likely had some mental issues/depression going on BEFORE they joined the Navy. I read their Obits.

They as others were able to hide it when they joined the Military.

As I shared, the investigation is gonna be interesting…and I hope not driven by politics/political gain.

pookysgirl

Sometimes the military doesn’t hide the insanity and knows full well they’ve got a grenade with the pin pulled, but are throwing it at the enemy/problem and hoping it blows up away from them. That was the case with my husband’s entire career field. The Air Force was gambling with around 400 lives, and about half the time the spectacular result was something positive like my husband fixing a plane’s mechanism with a cardboard box, a 2×4, a can opener and (of course) duct tape; and sometimes the result is someone he knew taking his ex-wife hostage at their kid’s school and blowing his brains out when he saw the police helicopter approaching.

I realized when he was laying in the ICU after his nearly-successful suicide attempt that everyone we knew that had gotten out went out in a body bag or handcuffs. We didn’t know any “natives” (non-cross trainees) that had gotten above E-6. The AF didn’t care about the wreckage these live grenades caused, just that they got results.

poetrooper

“IS there any connection or common factor?”

Master-at-Arms Seaman Recruit Xavier Hunter Mitchell-Sandor

Machinist Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Romero, 22

Seaman Isaiah Peralta, on duty aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71)

Torpedoman’s Mate 3rd Class Petty Officer Manuel Julian Jr., 23

It may be purely coincidental, but ol’ Poe finds it exceedingly strange that all four are Hispanic and three of the four were on ships in maintenance.

Any thoughts, anyone?

Last edited 1 month ago by Poetrooper
QMC

My noticed common factor would just be that it’s been a 5 yr dry haul period (seriously wtf?), which is a long time of suck, followed by them all being E4
and below.

I remember being a QMSN during dry dock. Life pretty much just sucked for the most part.

poetrooper

You’re right about the ranks, QMC, which Poe missed because he’s always had a problem deciphering Navy enlisted ratings. But E-4 and below also points to youth and emotional immaturity.

The Hispanic factor was what jumped out at me, but the medical data don’t seem to support that:

Suicide among Hispanics in the United States – PMC (nih.gov)

ninja

Thank You, Poetrooper, for this information.

Am still convinced the George Washington had nothing to do with the Sailors suicides…and that their deaths are being used by Politicians.

In the meantime, as previously mentioned, it seems hardly anyone gives a darn about Evan Bishops, the Texas National Guardsman who lost his life trying to rescue two drug smugglers.

Similiar to we seem to care more about the folks in Ukraine than our own citizens. We need to stop being the Policemen of this world.

What A Shame.☹️

Martinjmpr

It’s possible, I suppose, that if one was raised in a culture that revered machismo, a “deal with it” or “suck it up and drive on” attitude, or a prejudice against seeking outside help because it might make one appear “weak” in the eyes of others could well be a contributing factor. Not saying that all hispanic cultures are like this but certainly some of them are, to varying degrees.

There’s a cliche’d saying that “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Successful suicides tend to be younger people because they have less life experience to let them know that their problem of today is not going to be with them forever.

Skivvy Stacker

So young.
So damn young.

ninja

The US Army experienced suicides during the BEGINNING of OEF and OIF, for Boots On The Ground Soldiers…talk about living conditions during that timeframe (for those who were boots on the ground during 2001-2003 in Afghanistan and Iraq, you know what I am talking about).

Those Soldiers did not kill themselves because of living conditions. I only remember one investigation being conducted. The others were related to incidents that followed those Soldiers from their home station units…

Again, have this gut feeling that the Navy or Politicians are calling for investigations because of upcoming elections or other reasons.

We always feel for families that lose a love one because of suicide. We just doubt very seriously that those VERY YOUNG Sailors took their lives because of living conditions on the George Washington or the Newport News area (two of them were found in Hampton, VA and the other shot himself on the ship) or parking.

Sapper3307

My thinking is that a four-year enlistment to see the word (or water) and being stuck in a dock for that entire time would suck.

278864773_10225467502628034_4647728220654555090_n.jpg
timactual

“This overhaul is in its fifth year, long past scheduled.”

And they want their budget increased?

Skivvy Stacker

The major problem of telling the crew that they should seek help, and talk to someone, is that even though they are promised anonymity, and that there will be no negative consequences for them, there are ALWAYS negative consequences, and there is no such thing as anonymity on a military base.
Top brass have GOT to be trained, ordered, commanded, have pounded into their brass brains, that when they offer help that will not impact a subordinates career, or standing, that it MEANS IT WILL NOT IMPACT A SUBORDINATES CAREER OR STANDING. The help has to be real, be offered in the strictest confidence possible, and that it be offered with the sole purpose of repairing a person’s mental health so you can keep them working, and keep them in.