The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

U.S. Navy:
Waves of Suicides

Mar 6, 2023

The U.S. Navy is experiencing atrocious numbers of suicides.

Four at Norfolk, Virginia last year. Three attempts last fall on the USS Ronald Reagan. Five suicides on the USS George Washington. While docked for rebuilding, the Navy had hundreds of sailors live on board with nonstop construction noise, power and hot water outages, and food always running out. The sailors had to clean and do repairs in shifts up to 20 hours long for the contractor, which got nearly three billion dollars. In South Carolina, sailors training super-long hours to operate and maintain naval nuclear power engines averaged more than double the national suicide average.

These young people are hit hard with job stress. Those who seek psychological help don’t get it. The few mental health workers are overworked and understaffed. Last June nearly a third of the Navy’s mental health provider positions were unfilled. The George Washington’s psychologist and mental health technician had to see up to 20 patients per day, with a four to six week wait for an initial appointment. By then, sailors on the edge killed themselves.

The Navy doesn’t need real enemies to kill the sailors. It is doing that job on its own.