Sailors discovered a series of hangman’s nooses aboard a Navy destroyer last month, service officials confirmed Wednesday.

On three separate occasions in February, officials said ropes were located near the racks of one service member on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Laboon, which is based in Norfolk, Virginia.

“We can confirm that rope tied similar to a slipknot was found onboard USS Laboon on a Sailor’s rack,” Lt. Cmdr. Jason S. Fischer, a spokesman for Naval Surface Forces Atlantic, told Navy Times.

“The ship investigated this incident expeditiously after the rope was discovered,” he continued. “The Navy takes reports of intimidation seriously and will continue to investigate incidents of potential misconduct aboard Laboon.”

Fischer added in an interview with Navy Times that “any symbol or act of racism violates our core values of honor, courage and commitment.” Navy officials declined, however, to share the race of the service member who occupied the bunk where the nooses were found

In addition to counseling services and other arrangements, the unnamed sailor, whose identity was withheld for privacy reasons, was offered transfer to another ship but declined, Fischer said in the statement.

The reports from February, which come amid ongoing conversations about a mental health issues in the sea service, are reminiscent of other incidents that have occurred aboard Navy ships in recent years.

In January 2021, a noose was found on a Black sailor’s bunk on the Navy cruiser Lake Champlain, and in 2017, a shipyard worker discovered a hangman’s noose in an engineering space aboard the destroyer Ramage.

The Laboon, which has the distinction of being the first Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to engage in combat, is continuing to investigate the situation involving the “hate symbol,” officials said.

Personnel from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are involved in the process, though they have not yet assumed the investigation in an official capacity, Fischer said.

A timeline on the investigation is unclear at this time.

Troops and veterans experiencing a mental health emergency can call 988 and select option 1 to speak with a VA staffer. Veterans, troops or their family members can also text 838255 or visit for assistance.

Navy Times reporter Geoff Ziezulewicz contributed to this report.

Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

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