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3 sailors assigned to the USS George H.W. Bush died by suicide last week
Three sailors assigned to the USS George H. W. Bush have died by suicide in the last week, the Navy announced today.
Chief Electronics Technician Nuclear James Shelton and Airman Ethan Stuart were found deceased in separate incidents at off-base locations on Sept. 19, Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, a spokeswoman with Norfolk Naval Station, told Task & Purpose.
The two deaths came just five days after Aviation Ordnanceman First Class Vincent Forline, another sailor assigned to the USS George H. W. Bush, died by suicide.
"Every death of a Sailor is devastating and affects our entire Navy Family," Cragg said. "Our thoughts and condolences are with the family, friends, and shipmates of the Sailors."
A Facebook post on Monday evening from Capt. Sean Bailey, commanding officer of the USS George H. W. Bush, confirmed that the recent deaths mark the "third, fourth, and fifth crew member suicides in the last two years."
None of the deaths occurred aboard the aircraft carrier, which is dry-docked in Norfolk, Cragg told Task & Purpose.
"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," reads Bailey's message. The post goes on to note that counseling and support systems are "available on board at all times to provide support and counseling to those grieving," and encourages sailors to "watch closely for stressors that anyone is experiencing when they face a significant life change such as: Relationship problems; Personal or professional loss; Recent career transitions; Financial difficulties; Disciplinary/legal issues."
The recent suicides gained widespread attention on social media after they were addressed on Decelerate Your Life, a popular Facebook group geared toward current and former sailors.
According to the group's administrator, who spoke with Task & Purpose under the condition of anonymity, the Facebook page has received messages from 30 to 40 sailors assigned to the Bush, who allege that leadership has tried to downplay the recent suicides, and that there may be a "toxic command climate" aboard the carrier, pointing to issues with long hours, undue stress, and a lack of personal time while the ship is dry docked.
"You're never at home, you don't get to see your family, you don't get to see your kids," said the page administrator, who claimed six years of Navy service with nearly five years aboard the Bush. "That environment is very stressful. Everyone is in and out of the ship all the time, so you might not have the resources available to you."
The Navy has pushed back on the claims about the command environment, with Cragg telling Task & Purpose that the "USS George H. W. Bush leadership is committed to every sailor assigned to the ship to join together as a team to improve the quality of their people and themselves."
However, the page administrator for Decelerate Your Life told Task & Purpose that his account was temporarily blocked from the Bush's official Facebook page after commenting there about the recent suicides. The Navy declined to provide a comment on why the account was blocked.
According to USNI News, "as of Sep. 5, the Navy reported that 46 active duty service members had taken their lives in 2019."
In 2018, the Navy recorded 68 suicides among active duty personnel, Navy Times reported.
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press "1" to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.
An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps
"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."
Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.
At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.
Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.
"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."
She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."
It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.
The culture of the Marine Corps is ripe for analysis. A 2015 Rand Corporation study found that women felt far more isolated among men in the Corps, while the Pentagon's Office of People Analytics noted in 2018 that female Marines rated hostility toward them as "significantly higher" than their male counterparts.
But the center's report, Marines' Perspectives on Various Aspects of Marine Corps Organizational Culture, offers a proverbial wakeup call to leaders, particularly when paired alongside previous studies, since it was commissioned by the Marine Corps itself in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandal that rocked the service in 2017.
The scandal, researchers found, was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.