Authorities are investigating the deaths of three sailors in the past nine days who were all assigned to the aircraft carrier George Washington.
Naval Air Force Atlantic officials did not disclose the names of the deceased shipmates Monday, nor did they explain the causes or circumstances surrounding each death.
After providing a brief statement in response to Navy Times questions late Monday, officials did not respond to follow-up queries, but indicated that more information on the deaths will be coming.
Most recently, on Friday, a George Washington sailor “was found unresponsive on board the ship,” according to Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesman Michael Maus.
“The Sailor was treated by the medical team on board before being transported to Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News where the service member passed away,” Maus said in an email. “The incident is under investigation and the command continues to cooperate with (the Naval Criminal Investigative Service).”
Two other George Washington sailors were found dead on April 9 and April 10, Maus said, although he did not clarify where those sailors were found.
“The Navy is cooperating with local authorities where both incidents have occurred, as both incidents remain under investigation,” Maus said. “Our thoughts and condolences are with the family, friends and shipmates of our Sailors.”
The deaths of these three sailors come as the carrier continues a lengthy and extended refueling and complex overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding that began in 2017 and was supposed to be wrapped up last year.
Such overhauls are conducted halfway through a carrier’s 50-year service life to refuel the nuclear power reactor and conduct significant repairs and upgrades over four years of work.
New work emerged during the repairs and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated labor shortages, officials told Defense News last month.
That means that if George Washington comes out of the yard in December, as Navy officials predict, its overhaul will have taken more than five years.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at email@example.com.