- U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Waters
- The commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush acknowledged a string of recent suicides in a Facebook post Monday.
- “It is with a heavy heart that I can confirm the loss of three sailors last week in separate, unrelated incidents from apparent suicide. My heart is broken,” Capt. Sean Bailey wrote.
- Two sailors, Chief Electronics Technician Nuclear James Shelton and Airman Ethan Stuart, died on the same day, five days after the death of Aviation Ordnanceman First Class Vincent Forline.
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Three US Navy sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush died by suicide last week, the ship’s commanding officer revealed Monday evening.
“It is with a heavy heart that I can confirm the loss of three sailors last week in separate, unrelated incidents from apparent suicide. My heart is broken,” Capt. Sean Bailey wrote in a Facebook post.
While Bailey did not identify the deceased, Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, a spokeswoman with Norfolk Naval Station, told Task & Purpose that Chief Electronics Technician Nuclear James Shelton and Airman Ethan Stuart were found dead in separate incidents just five days after Aviation Ordnanceman First Class Vincent Forline died in an apparent suicide.
The incidents did not occur on the carrier, which is currently in dry dock in Norfolk, Virginia, for maintenance. The Navy has not found any connection between their deaths.
Through September 5, 46 active-duty Navy personnel had taken their own lives this year, USNI News reported, noting that this will likely be the third year in a row of higher-than-normal suicide rates for the service, despite efforts by Navy leaders to address a problem that is affecting all of the service branches.
In 2018, Navy Times reports, there were 68 recorded suicides among active-duty Navy personnel.
Writing about the latest losses for the George H.W. Bush, Bailey said that “these deaths mark the third, fourth, and fifth crew member suicides in the last two years.”
“Now is the time to come together as a crew and as a family to grieve, to support each other, and to care for those in need,” Bailey wrote. “We need all hands to engage by bringing forward your suggestions and ideas for how we can work together to prevent another suicide.”