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Another sailor assigned to USS George Washington has died by apparent suicide, police confirm

CVN73 USS George Washington (Matt Hildreth/Daily Press/TNS)

A sailor assigned to the USS George Washington died by apparent suicide last week, Newport News police confirmed Tuesday.

Lucian Johan Woods, a boatswain’s mate seaman aboard the aircraft carrier, died Jan. 23 at a private residence in Newport News, according to Cmdr. Robert Myers, spokesperson for Naval Air Force Atlantic.

Newport News police spokesperson Sarah Ketchum confirmed Woods’ death was ruled a suicide. She declined to release further details.

“Embedded chaplains, mental health providers, and leaders are engaged with the crew and are available to provide appropriate support and counseling to those grieving this unexpected loss,” Myers said.

Woods’ death comes on the heels of a push for increased efforts to improve mental health services and suicide intervention after Norfolk-based Navy installations reported seven sailors died by suicide last year.

The deaths included three sailors linked to the same aircraft carrier Woods was assigned to — the USS George Washington — who died by suicide within a week in April while the carrier was undergoing an overhaul at Newport News Shipbuilding. A Navy report issued in December concluded that the deaths were not connected. Less than eight months later, between Oct. 30 and Nov. 26, four sailors assigned to Norfolk’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center died by apparent suicide.

Since April, the Navy has increased Washington sailors’ access to mental health resources. Among the support for Washington sailors is an embedded mental health team and two deployed resiliency counselors that work on the ship. A Military and Family Life Counselor is also available to the crew.

Last year’s death also spurred lawmakers to tour the maintenance center in December and January. During a visit on Jan. 17, Sen. Tim Kaine drew parallels between the carrier-related deaths and those of the maintenance center.

“Whether it’s an overly-long shore deployment as the ship is being refurbed or whether it’s because of something beyond your control physically, or if you’re in this different capacity that wasn’t exactly what you thought you were going to be doing — how do we make sure you’re still valued? That you still understand you’ve got a really important purpose,” Kaine said.

Resources for service members and veterans struggling with mental health, including 24-hour crisis hotlines:

  • The Military Crisis Line: call 1-800-273-8255, ext. 1; or text “273Talk” to 839863
  • Military OneSource: 1-800-342-9647
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988 — call or text


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