U.S. Navy

Navy Secretary to Visit USS George Washington After Rash of Suicides

Crew members have been instructed to clean up the warship to “make it look presentable” ahead of Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro’s arrival on Tuesday

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 26, 2012) - The U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) transits through Tokyo Bay as it returns to its forward-operating location of Yokosuka, Japan.
Hum Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The secretary of the Navy is expected to visit the USS George Washington in Virginia on Tuesday, following a spate of suicides among sailors assigned to the warship and concerns over onboard living conditions, according to military officials and sailors on the ship.

Crew members have been instructed to clean up their work spaces on the aircraft carrier to “make it look presentable,” ahead of Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro’s arrival, according to a sailor who works on the George Washington and asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation.

At least five sailors on the George Washington have died by suicide in the last year, including three within a span of a week last month, military officials said. 

The warship has been undergoing extensive repairs at the Newport News Shipyard in Virginia since 2017.

Several current and former George Washington sailors told NBC News that their struggles were directly related to a culture where seeking help is not met with the necessary resources, as well as nearly uninhabitable living conditions aboard the ship, including constant construction noise that made sleeping impossible and a lack of hot water and electricity. 

Read the full story here on NBCNews.com

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