NORFOLK, Va. — "A tragedy." That's how Virginia Sen. Mark Warner describes the most recent suicide involving a sailor from USS George Washington.
The Navy confirmed last week that a fourth GW sailor died in January, and Newport News police said they were handling it as a suicide case.
A Navy report published in January about the first three GW suicides last spring pointed to "life stressors" the victims faced but found there was no common work or social connections between those sailors.
The deaths happened as the aircraft carrier is undergoing a long-term mid-life overhaul and nuclear re-fueling at Newport News Shipbuilding.
Warner said Tuesday that the Navy needs to do more to prevent sailors from taking their own lives.
"There may be specific and unique circumstances about the most recent incident. Time will tell. But I have huge concerns about the numbers on the George Washington and is the command on the George Washington addressing this in a systematic way, making sure there's trust in the command?" he said.
Warner said he wants to see earlier intervention, more mental health services and elimination of the stigma associated with people reporting they need help.
He said: "We owe it to all sailors."
Four other sailors from the Navy's Mid-Atlantic Region Maintenance Center at Naval Station Norfolk are believed to have died by suicide last October and November.