Soldiers are by definition brainwashed in to compliance or are already, by ideology, compliant. Those that are so before going in to the services are very susceptible to suicide, in my opinion. Those that didn’t have the same mind frame, but adopted it as their own when exposed to it, are also, very highly susceptible.
People stay in the military for a myriad of different reasons.
Soldiers that are taught to KILL in basic. Taught that if they don’t, then it WILL be their lives on the line. They understand what it means to die. They have volunteered and are OK with this all the way through basic or boot camp, because they are ALL in the same boat and that boat is on the WINNING side. They are taught comradery and friendship. They are taught to look to one another. They are taught what they need to do to WIN. They are told that they should trust the government, because the military branch they belong to will protect and keep them, if they just give it their all 110%. Fight and we’ll see to the rest.
The military is NOT living up to their bargains. The military has it’s own laws. They are not civilian LAWS. They are specific. They are dictatorial and not liberal. The policies that the Soldiers have had to comply with twist the laws of combat engagement. They convolute the moral code that our soldiers have been DRILLED to death with. Then, they go out and DO what they signed up for, and when they come back, it’s the distortion of reality that they come back to. The military’s POLICIES work against the soldier. The illegal orders, when called out, are either not heard (the media covers up the news). When soldiers decline orders, because they are ILLEGAL, are instead of honored for standing up and discovering something not right, they are thrown in the brig.
Maryland- September 2nd – Fort Meade – Three-Star General Files Sworn Affidavit Supporting LTC Lakin’s Case – Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney has supplied an affidavit in support of Army Lieutenant Colonel Terrence Lakin, who faces trial on October 13-15.
Soldier imprisoned for killing a terrorist – Michael Behenna – Serving in FT Leavenworth 2 years of a 15 year sentence
Those are only the cases that stand out.
Soldier’s suicide was first of four
Troubled Houston GI’s death illustrates military’s plight
By ERICA GOODE
NEW YORK TIMES
Aug. 2, 2009, 11:01AM
Jacob Blaylock, seated at left, one of four members in his unit to later commit suicide, joined other soldiers from his outfit at the St. Louis, Mo., grave of Brandon Wallace, who died in Iraq.
Sgt. Jacob Blaylock flipped on the video camera he had set up in a trailer at the Tallil military base, southeast of Baghdad.
“Hey, it’s Jackie,” he said. “It’s the 20th of April. We go home in six days. I lost two good friends on the 14th. I’m having a hard time dealing with it.”
For almost a year, the soldiers of the 1451st Transportation Company had been escorting supply trucks along Iraq’s dark, dangerous highways. There had been injuries, but no one had died.
Their luck evaporated less than two weeks before they were to return home, in the spring of 2007. A scout truck driving at the front of a convoy late at night hit a homemade bomb. Two soldiers, Sgt. Brandon Wallace and Sgt. Joshua Schmit, were killed.
The deaths stunned the unit, part of the North Carolina National Guard. The two men were popular and respected — “big personalities,” as one soldier put it. Blaylock, who was close to both men, seemed especially shaken. Sometime earlier, feeling the strain of riding the gunner position in the exposed front truck, he had switched places with Wallace, moving to a Humvee at the rear.
“It was supposed to be me,” he would tell people later.
The losses followed the men and women of the 1451st home as they dispersed to North Carolina and Tennessee, New York and Oklahoma, reuniting with their families and returning to their jobs.
Blaylock came back to Houston, where he tried to pick up the pieces of his life, but grief and guilt trailed him, combining with other stresses: financial troubles, disputes with his estranged wife over their young daughter, the absence of the tight group of friends who had helped him make it through 12 months of war.
On Dec. 9, 2007, Blaylock, heavily intoxicated, lifted a 9mm handgun to his head during an argument with his girlfriend and pulled the trigger. He was 26.
“I have failed myself,” he wrote in a note found later in his car. “I have let those around me down.”
Over the next year, three more soldiers from the 1451st — Sgt. Jeffrey Wilson, Sgt. Roger Parker and Spc. Skip Brinkley — would take their lives. The four suicides, in a unit of roughly 175 soldiers, make the company an extreme example of what experts see as an alarming trend in the years since the invasion of Iraq.
The number of suicides reported by the Army has risen to the highest level since record-keeping began three decades ago. Last year, there were 192 among active-duty soldiers and soldiers on inactive reserve status, twice as many as in 2003, when the war began. (Five more suspected suicides are still being investigated.)
This year’s figure is likely to be even higher: from January to mid-July, 129 suicides were confirmed or suspected, more than the number of American soldiers who died in combat during the same period.
Stung by criticism from veterans groups and mental health advocates, the Pentagon and the veterans agency have increased efforts to understand and address the problem.
Researchers who have examined military suicides find not a single precipitating event but many: multiple deployments, relationship problems, financial pressures, drug or alcohol abuse.
If decades of studies on civilian suicides are any indication, soldiers who kill themselves are also likely to have a history of emotional troubles like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or another illness.
For Blaylock, the elements of disaster were in place long before he went to war. Still, an examination of his life and death suggests the difficulty of the mission the military has set for itself in identifying and helping soldiers at risk.
Extensive interviews with Blaylock’s family and fellow soldiers, as well as records of his military service and treatment in the veterans health system, show that his tendencies toward depression and self-destructive behavior were long-standing and clear. But while friends and others who cared about him tried to help, his vulnerability was missed, or minimized, by many of the people whose job it was to intervene.
Blaylock’s case particularly raises questions about the way the military screens those it sends to war. Discharged several years earlier for mental health problems, he was called back up in late 2005, when the Army was desperate for troops to combat rising violence in Iraq. And he was deployed even though at least three other soldiers had warned mental health screeners about his instability.
Blaylock’s girlfriend, Heidi Plumley, sees things more starkly. Given his history, she said, “There was no reason for him to be in the war at all.”
Ups and downs
At Tallil, the company’s home base in Iraq, Blaylock, like many young soldiers, fought the tedium with video war games like Halo. He played his guitar, often teaming up with Wallace, part of the same tight-knit group of inactive regular Army reservists called back to active service and attached to the National Guard unit.
His best friend, Sgt. Damon Lyden, came up with a nickname for them: the Involuntarys.
Blaylock was promoted three times in 15 months. His M-16 was immaculate. He was brave on the road, serving for months as the gunner in the scout truck of the 3rd Platoon’s 3rd Squad, surviving three attacks with homemade bombs. He could be good company, too, cutting up, shooting videos to pass the endless hours.
There was also something fragile about him. He was moody, his friends said — happy one minute, then abruptly plunged into depression by an e-mail message or a phone call from his wife, reminders of the tempestuous marriage he was trying to leave behind.
But an Army evaluation found him fit, and in May 2006, Blaylock boarded a military transport along with the other soldiers of the 1451st.
Plagued by guilt
Guilt is a common theme for soldiers haunted by war. The bonds of loyalty and shared obligation can, in the aftermath of battle, curdle into obsession with failures, real or imagined.
The bomb that killed Wallace and Schmit left Blaylock and many others in the 1451st feeling that the deaths were, in some way, their fault.
In fact, three of the four men who would later commit suicide had a direct connection to the events of that night.
Parker, who monitored the progress of convoys from the communications center at Tallil, was looking at the screen when the blip from the GPS tracker in the 3rd Squad’s scout truck disappeared.
“Everybody just got quiet,” he said later. “They knew what had happened.”
After the blast, Blaylock’s truck raced to the front of the convoy.
“He was freaking out,” Parker said. “He was saying, ‘Oh my God, oh my God.’ ”
Later, Blaylock curled into a ball in his truck. They wrapped him in a blanket and drove him from the scene.