Navy opening investigation after 7 deaths on USS George Washington
The Navy is opening an investigation into the deaths of seven sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, including three who were found dead in one week.
“Admiral Daryl Caudle, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, has directed Rear Admiral John Meier, commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, to investigate and assess the reported deaths of Sailors assigned to the USS George Washington,” said Capt. Sarah Self-Kyler, a spokesperson for U.S. Fleet Forces Command, told The Hill in a statement on Monday.
The investigation will include correlations, command climate and culture issues, and the systemic relationships between them.
Caudle also asked his staff to work with Naval Air Force Atlantic, the ship, and other Navy stakeholders to “better understand and assess the efficacy of the existing Total Sailor Fitness programs,” Self-Kyler said.
Seven deaths have been reported on the George Washington over the past year, Lt. Cmdr. Commander Robert Myers, a spokesperson for Naval Air Forces Atlantic, told The Hill in a statement.
Four of those deaths were reported last year, and the other three were reported this month when three sailors were found dead within a week of each other. One sailor was found unresponsive on April 15 onboard the ship, and the two other sailors had been found at locations off base on April 9 and 10.
Of the seven deaths, one has been confirmed as suicide and three other apparent suicides are under investigation. Another death was attributed to post-COVID-19 complications, while another was determined to be health-related. The cause of the seventh death is undetermined.
“The circumstances surrounding these incidents vary and it is premature to make assumptions, as some incidents remain under investigation,” Meyers said. “The death of any Sailor is one too many and we will thoroughly investigate these incidents to ensure we are providing the appropriate support and resources to Sailors at sea and in the shipyards.”
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