The United States Navy has opened an investigation on the leadership climate and culture aboard the USS George Washington after seven sailors have been confirmed dead over the past 12 months, four of which are suspected of being suicide.

On April 11th, the commander of the aircraft carrier Captain Brent Gaut announced over the ship’s intercom that sailors should seek help when needed and that there are resources available to help them.

The announcement came after two sailors were found dead on April 9 and 10 because of suicide. Anonymous sailors who have heard Gaut’s announcement said that it is what “they say after they have a suicide every time.”

Four days later, another sailor was found unresponsive while onboard the carrier. The ship’s crew sent the sailor to the base hospital but unfortunately died there. The Navy has identified the most recent death as Master at Arms Seaman Recruit Xavier Hunter Mitchell-Sandor.

Mitchell-Sandor “was treated by the medical team on board before being transported to the Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News where the service member passed away,” the Navy said. They added that his death was an apparent suicide.

The USS George Washington (US Naval Institute). Source:
The USS George Washington (US Naval Institute/Twitter)

The Navy has also identified the two other deaths this April. Retail Services Specialist 3rd Class Mika’il Sharp died on April 9, and Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Natasha Huffman died on April 10. Again, both deaths were marked as suicides. Sharp died reportedly at an undisclosed location off-base in Hampton, Virginia, while Huffman was also found lifeless off base in Virginia.

The cases of Mitchell-Sandor, Sharp, and Huffman, are among 7 Navy personnel dispatched to the USS George Washington who have died in the last 12 months.

“We can confirm seven total deaths of service members assigned to USS George Washington over the past 12 months — 4 in 2021, and 3 in 2022. The circumstances surrounding these incidents vary, and it is premature to make assumptions, as some incidents remain under investigation,” Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Robert Myers said.