At least five U.S. sailors who served on the same aircraft carrier in Virginia have died by suicide in the last year, including three who died within a week earlier this month, military officials said Thursday.
The string of suicides among USS George Washington sailors may indicate a larger mental health problem, according to experts, and it comes less than three years after a similar cluster of suicides on another Navy vessel.
“Each death is tragic in its own right, regardless of how,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters Thursday. “Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the families and, frankly, the shipmates because they’re affected, too.”
On April 9, Retail Services Specialist 3rd Class Mika’il Rayshawn Sharp died by suicide off-base in Portsmouth, said his mother, Natalie Jefferson. The next day, Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Natasha Huffman also died by suicide off-base in Hampton, according to the Navy and the state chief medical examiner’s office.