Aircraft Carrier Evacuates 200 Sailors in Wake of Several Deaths

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The Navy announced on Tuesday that at least 200 sailors were evacuated from the USS George Washington. The move came after multiple deaths by suicide among the crew of the nuclear powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Three of those deaths happened in a single week.

Sailors given new homes

After an investigation revealed harsh conditions aboard the vessel, at risk sailors were relocated to a nearby naval installation.

A major part of the problem was the round the clock construction as the carrier undergoes refit and refueling. The job was supposed to be done by Christmas and the end is nowhere in sight, yet.

Even though they were parked in Newport News, Virginia, the crew remained aboard. Sailors were beginning to snap. In the past year, “seven members of the crew have died, including four by suicide.

That’s what started the ongoing probe of the “command climate and culture” As soon as he read the preliminary report, commanding officer Captain Brent Gaut issued the order allowing “sailors living on board the ship to move to other accommodations.

The 200 crew members who walked down the gangway on Monday were only the first day’s worth. “The move plan will continue until all sailors who wish to move off-ship have done so,” a statement from Naval Air Force Atlantic reports.

At sea, the ship carries around 5,000 but currently lists “2,700 sailors working aboard during the overhaul process.

Some rest and recreation

Around 420 of the sailors were living on the ship full time and the officers are “working to identify” the ones who could “benefit from and desire the support services and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs.

They’re at the local shore bases. For now there’s a rush to set up “temporary accommodations.

Leadership is actively implementing these and pursuing a number of additional morale and personal well-being measures and support services to members assigned to USS George Washington.

According to Admiral John Meier, the commander of US Naval Air Force Atlantic, they “assigned an investigating officer to look into that and to really to look into the proximate cause.” They don’t expect to find a root cause for the deaths of the sailors out in the open.

The second investigation has a “much broader scope” and focuses on “command climate, command culture,” Meier adds.

After the most recent three suicides, the Navy added sailors resources to the ship, including a “ship psychologist,” “resiliency counselors,” and “a 13-person sprint team, which is a special intervention team for instances like this.

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