'Don't be afraid to say something': Secretary of the Navy visits USS George Washington in wake of Sailor deaths

USS George Washington
Posted at 10:27 PM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 22:27:46-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Secretary of the Navy visited Hampton Roads Tuesday to meet with the command of the USS George Washington. This visit comes after a number of suicides among Sailors assigned to the carrier.

As we've been reporting, the USS George Washington has been getting overhauled and upgraded at Newport News Shipbuilding since 2017. CBS News reports over the last three years, seven Navy Sailors have died by suicide while assigned to the ship, including four in the past year.

Tuesday, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro released a statement about the visit.

"We need to be good shipmates. When you notice someone in your division or work center starting to act different or something just isn't right with them, don't be afraid to say something," he said.

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-2nd Congressional District) toured the USS George Washington in early May and heard directly from Sailors regarding their concerns in the wake of the tragedies.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday also met with leadership aboard the ship Tuesday.

In addition to meeting with the ship’s senior leadership and medical team, the Navy says Secretary Del Toro held group discussions with crew members broken up by rank, while the Adm. Gilday walked the ship’s spaces to speak with Sailors and observe the work and living conditions as the ship continues its Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH).

Related: Therapist weighs in on mental health impacts on servicemembers after USS George Washington Sailors' deaths