Since April, when a series of deaths aboard the USS George Washington triggered widespread fears of a mental health crisis, at least nine commanding officers and two senior advisers have been dismissed of their jobs.
So far this year, the Navy has fired 13 commanding officers, including 12 in the Navy and one in the Marine Corps, according to the Navy. From June 8 to June 14, four naval commanding officers and a top leader were removed.
The Navy claimed the personnel changes were unrelated to each other, although it’s unclear what prompted them.
“The U.S. Navy has long maintained high standards for all its personnel. Those who fall short of these standards are held accountable,” said Lt. Cmdr. Devin Arneson, a Navy spokesperson.
None of the leaders served on the George Washington, which saw at least five crew men commit suicide in the previous year, infuriating some sailors and organizations working to minimize military suicides.
After their son died by suicide while serving in the Navy in 2018, Patrick Caserta and his wife have been advocating for improved mental health treatment in the military.
“How many service members have to die before this commanding officer is held accountable?” said Patrick Caserta.
Caserta continues, “you cannot hand-pick some commanders as fall guys and leave others untouched.”
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