The Houston Chronicle ran an article today, entitled “Death Watch” and the subject was the rampand increase in suicides in our military, notably the four suicides that took place at Fort Hood two weekends ago. I have no issue with the article itself.
I have issue with the commenter who said “Four deployments in five years would indicate either a serious addiction to adrenaline or a disconnect with normal life. Limit deployments and re-institute the draft with NO deferrals.”
Really? 4 deployments in 5 years is an adrenaline addiction or disconnect with real life? Get a g(*)*damned clue. Have you got any idea how often the brigade combat teams have deployed? How about some brigades are on their 4th deployments in 5 years. How about a high number of soldiers (enlisted primarily) are locked into these assignments for as long as 6 years and guess what, have no choice but to deploy again and again and again. Every time the leadership changes out, new decisions are made as to who gets to leave and who gets to stay.
It is damn near impossible to get back into a normal family life with less than a year home. And while you might be physically not in theater, you damn sure can’t be said to be at ‘home’. Do you know how much it takes to train a brigade combat team to deploy? How many times those units go to the field, to the national training center, to gunnery in order to ensure their young men and women are prepared for the next fight?
Don’t sit there and blame a soldier who deployed 4 times in 5 years for his own suicide. Don’t sit there and say he had a choice to deploy or not to deploy. It’s easy to sit on your couch and watch the news and surf the internet and say, well, he could have gotten out of the military when you have no concept of the bonds with your fellow soldiers or the pressure to ensure that your family is taken care of or the patriotism that demands we serve our nation. You have no right to say a soldier died by his own hand because he was an ‘adrenaline junkie’ when you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about.
Are there people in the ranks who want to return to combat over and over again? Yep. No argument there. But don’t say that a number of deployments means he made the choice to go over and over again. I’d bet you anything that young sergeant and thousands of our other young soldiers who desperately need to take a knee would gladly do so if afforded the opportunity, but only if it didn’t let their brothers and sisters in arms down.