The Secretary of the Navy will visit the USS George Washington after the suicide

The Secretary of the Navy is expected to visit Virginia USS George Washington on Tuesday, then A wave of suicides among sailors Concerns about the living conditions of the aircraft, according to the ship’s military officials աստ sailors.

The crew was instructed to clear their work areas on the aircraft carrier “to make it presentable” before the arrival of Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, according to a sailor who works in George Washington, for fear of anonymity. of revenge.

Carlos Del Toro, then candidate for Secretary of the Navy, during a Senate hearing on July 13, 2021. Jacquelyn Martin / AP file:

At least five sailors in George Washington have committed suicide in the past year, including three in a week, military officials say.

The warship has been undergoing major repairs at Newport News Shipyard, Virginia since 2017.

Some of George Washington’s former sailors told NBC News that their struggle was directly linked to a culture where seeking help was not enough, such as the ship’s almost uninhabitable living conditions, including the constant construction noise that was impossible. makes sleep և hot water ակայ lack of electricity.

They said that as the ship undergoes lengthy repairs, most of the young crew members move on to cleaning and repair tasks, rather than the tasks they were involved in.

The junior sailors make up about 95 percent of George Washington’s crew, according to Lieutenant Cmdr. Robert Myers, Navy Spokesman. He said the renovation would probably not be completed until March 2023.

Asked about George Washington’s suicides during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week, Del Toro said the Navy should “do a better job of providing resources” to “ensure a better quality of life for those shipbuilders.” », reports News 3.

Del Toro, who was sworn in last August, has been tasked with “addressing the most pressing challenges facing the US Navy”, including “strengthening a naval culture of inclusiveness and respect”, according to his navy. biography:.

His visit comes weeks after the fleet’s chief junior officer, Russell Smith, a senior conscript, entered the aircraft carrier. controversial expressions to staff members.

In a message in late April, Smith disagreed when a sailor said that the standard of living on a ship “does not have to be right.” He said sailors could go home most nights because they “do not sleep in a fox’s pit like a sailor can do,” according to an address transcript published by the navy.

“I think we could probably have done better to manage your expectations for coming here,” Smith said. “I hear your concerns, you should always voice them, but you should do so with reasonable expectations.”

Most of the approximately 2,700 sailors in George Washington went home after the shift, but about 400 who lived outside the state or were homeless lived on board.

After three suicides in April, the navy offered transfer These sailors entered nearby military housing facilities. As of May 13, more than 280 sailors had accepted the fleet’s offer, while the fleet is working to provide additional accommodation for the remaining crew, Myers said.

In a new statement, the navy said the command “takes care of the health and safety of every sailor assigned to George Washington” and that the administration “has taken unprecedented steps” to ensure that all sailors receive “immediate, complete, well-rounded care.”

“While management is working to identify potential at-risk personnel who may benefit from this assistance,” the statement said, “The Navy continues to encourage our seafarers to request assistance from any serviceman who may need assistance. If it has, these resources and services will be provided. ”

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 800-273-8255, write to HOME 741741, or visit for more resources.

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