A Soldier Deals with Guilt of Surviving 9-11 Pentagon Attack

This article, written by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton, was originally published by Army.mil. Below is the first part. I encourage you to follow the link to read the conclusion on how Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 4 Clifford Bauman survived suicide and eventually did get to save three lives eight years after the terrorist attacks.

Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 4 Clifford Bauman examining the gloves, boots and hard hat he wore Sept. 11, 2001 trying to save lives at the Pentagon.

Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 4 Clifford Bauman examining the gloves, boots and hard hat he wore Sept. 11, 2001 trying to save lives at the Pentagon.

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – Each year when the nation collectively remembers the attacks of 9/11, Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 4 Clifford Bauman tries everything possible to forget. But the memories of being in the attack on the Pentagon are too vivid to forget.

“There was stuff floating everywhere,” Bauman said, as he described his journey through knee-deep water into the Pentagon’s outermost ring, the E-corridor. “We made our way back around between C- and B-corridor and saw where the nose of the aircraft detached and shot through the building.”

Immediately the team stepped outside, set up equipment designed to locate active cell phones and went to work searching for signals.

“Once we started pinging, I re-entered the building, crawling,” he said. “We were there all day and into the night, looking for people – eighteen hours and no survivors — not one.”

Looking back at what he did — what he forced himself to do – Bauman said there was only one word to describe everything he experienced.

“Horrific,” he said. “Seeing your fellow soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines lying dead in an area where you would think it was impossible, was hard to deal with.”

Even though Bauman had steeled himself to seeing the remains of fallen service members and comrades, he continued to work through the night. The painful reality began to fester inside him like a cancerous wound. Continue reading

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Pentagon Reports Soldier Suicides Soar in July

More than once a day a soldier is suspected of killing himself according to the most recent data released by the Department of Defense. A total of 38 suicides are under investigation or confirmed in July.

Among active duty soldiers, there are 26 “potential” suicides, nine in the Army National Guard and three in the Army Reserve.

Time magazine reports that Army experts cannot account for the surge in suicides.

Retired Army colonel Elspeth Ritchie, once the service’s top psychiatrist and a key warrior fighting Army suicides, fears the toll won’t abate any time soon. “One of the risk factors for suicide is getting in trouble at work,” says Ritchie, now a Battleland contributor. “As the Army downsizes, the getting in trouble may translate into more soldiers facing discharge and possible unemployment,” she says. “Another risk factor is trouble with relationships. After a decade of war, going from having a spouse away most of the time — to being at home all the time — actually may make things worse. Especially if the spouse is underemployed.”

You can read more on the Time cover story- Grim Record: Soldier Suicides Research New High.
There is help for any family, veteran or active duty member:
  • Trained consultants are available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Or visit website at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
  • Military One Source toll-free number 1-800-342-9647
  • Defense Center for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Outreach: 1-866-966-1020

If you need help or know someone who does – call one of the numbers above and talk.

Military Suicide: Study Offers Insight into Motivations

Photo courtesy of DCoE website.

Why does a member of the military attempt suicide? A new study of 72 active duty members who tried to kill themselves works to identify their motives.

Craig J. Bryan, a doctor of psychology, is associate director of the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah and delivered his findings at the annual Department of Defense and VA suicide prevention conference.

The research breaks down suicide motives into four categories:

  • Emotion relief, or the desire to stop bad feelings;
  • Feeling generation, or the desire to feel something even if it’s bad;
  • Avoidance and escape, or the desire to avoid punishment from others or avoid doing something undesirable;
  • Interpersonal influence, or the desire to get attention or “let others know how I feel.”

Learning the “why” of suicide is essential to reducing suicide attempt rates, Bryan said. The American Forces Press Service reports:

After patients confronted the reasons they had attempted or considered suicide, Bryan said, “it was like a light bulb went on.” While all of the participants originally said they attempted suicide because they wanted to die, 95 percent acknowledged after selecting factors they realized they had not wanted to die, but wanted to end emotional pain.

“What this means from a clinical standpoint is we have to start integrating these behavioral [and] functional understandings of suicide attempts into our treatment,” he said.

Military Suicide Rates Nearly One a Day in 2012

In the first 155 days of 2012, there were 154 suicides among active duty U.S. troops according to a report from Associated Press.

The AP analysis of Department of Defense data shows nearly a 50 percent more troops killed themselves than were killed by combat in Afghanistan.

The head of the Pentagon’s Defense Suicide Prevention office, Jackie Garrick, told AP Thursday that the suicide numbers this year are troubling.

“We are very concerned at this point that we are seeing a high number of suicides at a point in time where we were expecting to see a lower number of suicides,” she said, adding that the weak U.S. economy may be confounding preventive efforts even as the pace of military deployments eases.

Garrick said experts are still struggling to understand suicidal behavior.

“What makes one person become suicidal and another not is truly an unknown,” she said.

The Real Warriors campaign offers help to active-duty, Reserves and National Guard. You can call a trained health resource consultant to talk, listen and provide guidance and resources. Call 866-966-1020 or LOG ON — 24/7 — for Real Warriors Live Chat.

Veterans can call the Lifeline number, 1-800-273- TALK (8255), and press “1” to be routed to the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Iraq Veteran Credits Service Dog for Saving Him from Suicide

Former Army Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan and his service dog, Tuesday.

During a private reception in Roseville, California Friday night, retired U.S. Army Captain Luis Carlos Montalvan relayed a startling statistic: Every day in this country, 18 veterans commit suicide.

“We are going through a war in this country and it’s not in Iraq or Afghanistan,” Montalvan said, in a news release about the event. “I don’t know what’s wrong with our generals, our leaders, our citizens, but that statistic alone should be on the front pages of every newspaper.”

This figure comes from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, which reports that an average of 950 suicide attempts occurred monthly in 2010 by veterans receiving treatment from the department.

Montalvan authored the book, “Until Tuesday,” about how his service dog, Tuesday, brought him back from the brink of suicide.

The New York Times bestselling author and New York City resident struggled with post traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury from his service in Iraq. Far more soldiers come home with these “invisible wounds from war” than with amputated limbs, he said.

The United States has deployed 2.2 million soldiers since the war in Iraq began in 2003, he said.

You can read Sena Christian’s full story in the Roseville online newspaper HERE.

The Anatomy of an Army Veteran’s Suicide

Statistics from 2010 estimated that about 18 veterans commit suicide every day. Of those 18, only five were receiving care from the VA.

Below is a portion of a compelling story that offers vivid insight into a solider’s suicide. The article is written by Bill Murphy Jr. for Stars and Stripes published 7 June 2011.

He had plenty to think about on the 30-hour trip from Fort Drum, N.Y.

There were the alcohol-fueled mistakes that had led to the end of his military career, and the memories of good friends who had been killed the year before in Afghanistan. There was, in particular, his horrific discovery of the body of one friend who had been crushed to death in a Humvee accident.

There was the night back at Fort Drum when he’d tried to commit suicide.

Friends and family members say the Army was more than happy to take Andrews when it needed new soldiers for an unpopular war, but that it punished and abandoned him when he returned from Afghanistan, despite clear signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and possible traumatic brain injury.

Those actions, they charge, put Andrews on the path to his tragic demise. In April, as the government hounded him for repayment of his re-enlistment bonus, and after he was incorrectly denied the educational benefits he’d counted on to help make a new start, Andrews, 22, hanged himself in a wooded area near his parents’ home in Kansas City.

“He tried. The kid asked for help,” said Andrews’ mother, Lauri Turner. “But to them, he was just a number.”

Courtesy of Lauri Turner, the photo of her son Jacob Andrews was posted by him on Facebook just days before he committed suicide. You can read Jacob Andrews’ full story here.

If you know a veteran considering suicide – 24 hour help is available at 800-273-8255.

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