Parents of Sailor Who Took Own Life Slam US Navy's 'Ridiculous' Response to Suicide Surge on Carrier

© AP Photo / Kin CheungThe aircraft carrier USS George Washington anchors in the Hong Kong water Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009
The aircraft carrier USS George Washington anchors in the Hong Kong water Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009 - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.05.2022
Due to the recent spike in suicides among US servicemen, more than 200 sailors have been transferred from the USS George Washington carrier to a nearby Navy base since Monday, the Navy said. The deaths occurred during the carrier's overhaul and years-long refueling at a shipyard in Newport News, Virginia.
The parents of a sailor who committed sucide while on board the USS George Washington slammed the Navy's approach to the situation as "ridiculous," CNN reported on Wednesday.
The sailor, Master at Arms Seaman Recruit Xavier Hunter Mitchell Sandor, was one of seven crew members who died in the past year, with four of the deaths ruled as suicides. Parents said their son did not provide much detail about the conditions on the ship, but that the experience was "awful."
According to the sailor's father, John, his son would contact them from his car, at one point telling him that "people shouldn't have to live like this," and that there was no hot water to shower with.
"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," John Sandor said about his son, who was 19. "It is just awful. No sailor should even have been living on that ship in those conditions."
The father went on to say that "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."

"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.

The Navy has launched an investigation into the Nimitz-class carrier's command atmosphere and culture, which might have led to the suicides of some of the crew members.
According to the report, the carrier's commanding officer, Capt. Brent Gaut, took the decision to allow sailors residing on board to move to alternate accommodations. Despite the fact that the carrier's entire complement of around 5,000 sailors is not on board, approximately 2,700 sailors are reportedly working aboard throughout the overhaul.
Amid the ship's overhaul, about 420 sailors are said to be living on board.
An F-35C Lightning II carrier variant, assigned to the Salty Dogs of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, waits to launch on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). VX-23 is conducting its third and final developmental test (DT-III) phase aboard George Washington in the Atlantic Ocean. The F-35C is expected to be Fleet operational in 2018.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.05.2022
US Navy Allowing Hundreds of Sailors to Move Off Nuclear-Powered Carrier Amid Surge in Suicides
Moreover, the ship's leadership is reportedly looking for sailors who might "benefit from and desire the support services and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) programs" available at nearby Navy installations. The Navy is in the midst of setting up "temporary accommodations" for these sailors.
The Navy's inquiry into the deaths is anticipated to be completed this week in order to find whether there was "a linkage between those events" or an "immediate trigger," according to Adm. John Meier, commander of US Naval Air Force Atlantic, who spoke to media on Tuesday, CNN noted.
The investigation is one of two being conducted by the US Navy. The second probe reportedly focuses on "command climate, command culture."
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