The crew of the USS George H.W. Bush has suffered severe loss in the past two years, peaking last week when three sailors assigned to the ship killed themselves, according to the Navy Times.
Two crew members took their own lives on Sept. 19, after another killed himself on Sept. 14. The sailors were Chief Electronics Technician James Harold Shelton, Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Vincent Michael Forline, and Airman Ethan Thomas Lee Stuart.
None of the three deaths occurred on the carrier, which is currently under repair at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
"It is with a heavy heart that I can confirm the loss of three sailors last week in separate, unrelated incidents from apparent suicide," a post on the USS George H.W. Bush Facebook page, written by Capt. Sean Bailey, said. "My heart is broken. 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."
A Navy spokeswoman dispelled any notion that the deaths were linked or part of an "epidemic."
"The sailors did not serve in the same departments, and there does not appear to be a connection between their deaths," Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg told Navy Times.
So far this year, 46 active duty Naval service members and four reservists died by suicide or self-inflicted death, according to Navy records. Last year, there were 68 active duty suicides in the Navy.
Bailey, in his Facebook post, confessed that suggestions on how to prevent future suicides were needed and welcomed.
We need all hands to engage by bringing forward your suggestions and ideas for how we can work together to prevent another suicide," Bailey wrote. "I want to reiterate that there is never any stigma or repercussion from seeking help."
(H/T: New York Post)