By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Suicides prompt action on post, Army-wide
Placeholder Image
Battling the war on suicide appears to be the latest mission for military leaders across the nation.
Last month, more than 750 representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs and a variety of mental health professionals gathered in San Antonio for a weeklong suicide-prevention conference.
In addition, both Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, recently have been outspoken on the subject, pledging to break the stigma associated with soldiers who seek professional mental help.
The discussions were initiated after several reports were released indicating veteran and active-duty soldier suicide rates were rising, reportedly climbing higher than that of the general American population, and almost doubling since 2002.
However, the talks about suicide prevention and intervention for soldiers aren’t limited to national discussion boards and roundtables; they’re also happening here at home.
Last week, during a tree dedication ceremony for a soldier who reportedly took his own life while deployed to Iraq, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo challenged the audience to help make Sgt. Adam Wenger one of the last Marne soldiers lost to suicide.
“Every loss to us is a unique tragedy, but suicide is perhaps the greatest of all tragedies. We’re all left wondering why, what did we miss, is there more we could have done? …,” the 3rd ID commander said.  
“And [his death] speaks loudly to us about that special and unique challenge of the day … we must recommit to the fight to make Sgt. Wenger one of the last of our soldiers we lose in this tragic way,” he said.  
National reports indicate an estimated 30 percent of soldiers who killed themselves in 2008 did so while deployed, like Wenger, and another 35 percent committed suicide after returning home.
Because of those figures, the Army conducts suicide awareness and prevention training for all U.S. soldiers.
On Friday, officials at Fort Stewart are having what they are calling a Suicide Awareness Stand Down Day.
The four-hour training session will be geared toward educating company-level leaders on tools they can use to recognize the verbal and nonverbal signs and symptoms of comrades who might be in distress, according to a press release put out by the division.
Sign up for our e-newsletters