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Body of another soldier found on post

Young man found in barracks

POSTED: January 23, 2009 8:37 a.m.

The body of another 3rd Infantry Division soldier was found on post Saturday.
Pvt. Michael A. Bloom-quist, 19, was found in his barracks room Saturday night.
Bloomquist was assigned in December to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment in the 3rd ID’s 1st Brigade Combat Team and is reported to be a native of Illinois. He joined the Army in July.
Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson confirmed the discovery of Bloomquist’s body on Wednesday and had few details to report as of Thursday.
“The cause of death is still being investigated,” Larson said.
Bloomquist’s death is the second on post reported by the division in less than 10 days.
On Jan. 9, the body of Spc. William M. Smith was found in his barracks room.
Smith was a National Guard soldier with 1st Battalion, 214th Field Artillery in Waynesboro. He was assigned to the division’s Warrior Transition Unit, where wounded soldiers go to get help with various ailments before returning to active duty or transitioning to civilian-life.
Smith was assigned to the WTU on July 28.
According to military officials, the cause of Smith’s death is also being investigated.
The two deaths, which officials say don’t appear to be related, have taken place within a few weeks of the division ending its 14-month tour in Iraq.
The last of the division, which included members of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, returned home on Jan. 1.
It does not appear, however, that either soldier was in the final wave of redeployments, but the fort’s commanding officer said the events are still significant.
“I mean combat is what we do. But to lose a soldier to anything other than combat is still a tragedy, but it is also something we struggle to come to grips with,” Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo said.

 Both Cucolo and Alan Baroody, a civilian mental health counselor, said stress is something service members will always have to deal with, but Baroody added that the recent findings are not a cause for public alarm.
Baroody is director of the Frasier Counseling Center.
“This has been an ongoing an issue,” Baroody said. “A lot of the soldiers are suffering from combat stress due to the long deployment, but that is why Gen. Cucolo and his staff have been taking this seriously for quite a while.
“Post traumatic stress exists and is affecting our community in many different ways.”
Cucolo said he and his staff handle each case seperately because they know they are dealing with different emotional and psychological matters.  
“We approach each of these things by trying to understand all of the individual circumstances, be-cause we’re dealing with human beings who have a lot of different stressors and issues …,” the two-star general said.
The commander said that is why he stands in front of every one of the fort’s in-coming soldiers and tells them they have to understand how “combat changes all of us.”
“We understand that behavioral health wounds can be healed and so it is a point of moral courage if you ask for help, it’s not a stigma, it’s not a career-ender, it’s a wound that we want to heal,” the general said.

 

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