Defense

Parents of sailor who died by suicide on carrier call Navy’s response ‘ridiculous’

The parents of a U.S. sailor assigned to the USS George Washington who died by suicide called the Navy’s response to the crisis “ridiculous.”

Master at Arms Seaman Recruit Xavier Hunter Mitchell Sandor was one of three sailors who died by suicide within a week in mid-April.

The Navy has been under intense scrutiny since then, and has acknowledged that seven people assigned to the ship have died over the past year. Four of those deaths were by suicide.

“Knowing what was going on with the crew before him, this could have happened a long time ago and my son would still be alive,” John Sandor, Xavier’s father, told CNN.

“I don’t know why it took so long for the Navy to act on it. They had to wait until the seventh to actually make changes? It’s ridiculous,” he added.

Asked about the interview, Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesperson Cmdr. Robert Myers told The Hill in a statement “Navy and Congressional leadership have met extensively with the current leadership aboard USS George Washington, and feel confident that the leadership team is working hard –within and beyond their lifelines– to care for the crew.”

“Our current focus is on ensuring that we are providing a safe and healthy environment for our Sailors aboard GW, and that the shipboard leadership team has the resources to do so,” Myers said.

The interview came as the Navy begins relocating sailors who want to move off the aircraft carrier. Moving began on Monday and will continue until all sailors who want to relocate will have the chance.

The interview came as the Navy begins relocating sailors who want to move off the aircraft carrier. Moving began on Monday and will continue until all sailors who want to relocate will have the chance.

The Navy has said it worked to expand access to mental health resources to sailors on the ship.

Adm. John Meier, commander of U.S. Naval Air Force Atlantic, told reporters on Tuesday that there will be two investigations into the deaths on the ship, according to CNN.

The first investigation, the results of which are expected this week, will look into the “proximate cause of the death,” and whether there was a link between the incidents. The second will be “much broader in scope” and focus on the command climate and culture of the ship, the outlet reported.

John Sandor told CNN that his son loved his job, but no one should have to live in the conditions on the ship.

“He loved his job. He did his 12-hour shifts. And how do you sleep on an aircraft carrier with jackhammering and smoke and smells during the day? So, he would sleep in his car,” he told CNN. “It is just awful. No sailor should even have been living on that ship in those conditions.”

Updated at 6:43 p.m.

Tags Navy sailors Suicide USS George Washington
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