Another sailor on the US Navy ship based in Virginia linked to 10 service member deaths — seven of which were suicides — this year has attempted suicide, according to his mom who is speaking out in an exclusive interview with Daily Voice.
The sailor's mom, Amanda, and ER nurse from Kansas, said her son was never one to talk much about his feelings. When he boarded the USS George Washington in December 2021, that trend continued.
So when she learned her son attempted suicide while onboard the ship on Monday, May 9, she wanted to provide a glimpse into what life looks like on the death-riddled vessel.
“He would work 14-plus hour days and this weekend he got in trouble for using the bathroom,” she said. “He got in trouble for eating some of the food because he was hungry because they didn’t eat.”
That was the last thing Amanda heard from her son before she received the devastating news later in the week. The same night she heard about this attempt, Amanda learned her son had also attempted suicide in January.
"I was kind of blindsided," she said. "He didn't give me any indicators or any red flags that he was thinking these thoughts or feeling these thoughts."
To make matters worse, Amanda claims the Navy never contacted her about her son. Instead, he called her himself from the hospital after it happened.
“They’re trying to cover this up and I don’t think that’s okay either,” said Amanda. "Somebody should have called me on Monday so that I could have been out there.”
Amanda was ultimately told not to fly out to see her son because he is already expected to return to the ship and later be discharged, she said.
The aircraft carrier has been docked since 2017 for "overhaul and refueling" at Newport News Shipbuilding, according to Wavy.com.
Sailors on board the ship have described "demoralizing living conditions" because of the repairs have been prolonged by the pandemic, according to Fox News.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin addressed the uptick in suicides on the ship by saying, "Certainly there's a problem there," the outlet reports – but not much action has been taken.
The the Brandon Caserta Foundation (BCF), a non-profit organization that addresses military deaths by suicide, is working on implementing the Brandon Act, which would make suicide prevention education mandatory in all JRTOC and ROTC programs in the country.
The act, which was signed into law in September 2021, would introduce a program called Brandon's Buddies. The program would focus on letting active-duty service members access mental health resources available without permission from their superiors or fear of retaliation.
So far, the foundation has provided much-needed support to families like Amanda's.
[They've] given me a voice," Amanda said, "I think that's really awesome."
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