Investigators Reveal New Findings After Navy Deaths

Investigators Reveal New Findings After Navy Deaths

( – In April, CBS News reported multiple Navy sailors took their own lives over a nine-month period while in port in Virginia — three of which occurred over a span of just nine days. Captain of the USS George Washington, Brent Gaut, said at the time the “suicides have…to stop.” Since then, the incidents have reportedly been under investigation.

On December 19, Naval investigators released details of their inquiry into the deaths. They found there was no apparent connection between the incidents, revealing the stress of living in a shipyard was partially the reason at least one of the sailors committed suicide. It appears Seaman Recruit Xavier Mitchell-Sandor, serving as a Master-at-Arms, took his own life, in part, because of his living conditions.

The Naval aircraft carrier has not been at sea since before 2017, as it has been docked in Newport News, Virginia, for major repairs and overhaul. Due to COVID-19 and other factors, the vessel stayed in port much longer than officials intended.

Mitchell-Sandor reportedly told his loved ones before his death he sometimes couldn’t bear living on the carrier because of the conditions and would instead sleep in his vehicle. Those factors included such things as uncomfortable temperatures aboard the vessel, loud noises, and periods without power. Another sailor, Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Natasha Huffman, tried to get mental health help before taking her life.

A report from did a deeper dive into the issue, noting the lack of a “common thread” between the deaths but adding that the findings were “painting a picture” of service members living among “oblivious” leaders and not getting the help they needed.

In October, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin addressed the issue of suicide in the military, stating the government is actively working to prevent such tragedies. But are they doing enough?

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