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Two USS George Washington shipmates died by suicide one day apart

Two USS George Washington shipmates died by suicide one day apart
Retail Services Specialist 3rd Mikail Sharp and Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Natasha Huffman, shipmates on the USS George Washington (pictured here) died by suicide, the Navy confirmed Wednesday.File Photo by John M. Hageman/DOD/UPI | License Photo

April 20 (UPI) -- At least two of three U.S. Navy sailors who died while assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington died by suicide, the Navy confirmed Wednesday.

Retail Services Specialist 3rd Mikail Sharp and Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Natasha Huffman were found dead at two different sites away from the ship.

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Sharp's mother, Natalie Jefferson, told NBC News he died by suicide in Portsmouth on April 9, adding that the 23-year-old who joined the Navy two years ago had just gotten married and was planning to buy a house and start having children with his wife.

"He was the life of the party," Jefferson said. "I would have never thought that it would hit so close to home like this."

The state chief medical examiner's office confirmed on Wednesday that Huffman, who died off-base in Hampton on April 10, died by suicide.

A third sailor, whose identity has not been revealed, was found unresponsive aboard the aircraft five days later.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service and local authorities are investigating all three deaths.

Three sailors on the ship told Military.com that Capt. Brent Gaut, commander of the USS George Washington, announced that the deaths of Sharp and Huffman were the eighth and ninth suicides involving sailors from the ship in the past nine months.

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They added that Gaut told the sailors to reach out and talk to someone if they needed help, adding that resources were available to them.

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