Three Fort Drum soldiers with the 10th Mountain Division died last week within 72 hours of each other in a series of unrelated suspected suicides, Army officials said.
According to a Fort Drum press release, investigating agencies do not believe the incidents pose any danger to the public. Officials said they could not provide any additional details, nor the names of those who died, until next of kin are notified and the investigations are completed.
“CSM Terenas and I ask you all to keep the families of the Soldiers in your prayers during this difficult time and allow them the time to process their loss of a loved one,” Maj. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr., Commander, 10th Mountain Division (LI) wrote in a statement. “In trying times like these, it is incumbent upon us all to reach out to your battle buddy. Make sure they are OK. I have spoken with our command teams and they will gather everyone together on Monday. I have asked them to address the warning signs of those at risk, enhance understanding of the characteristics of suicidal ideation and to share coping mechanisms.”
“To the Soldiers of Fort Drum, the 10th Mountain Division and our entire Army I want you to know every life is worth living! Your life because you are a teammate, your life because you are Mountain Tough Soldier,” Beagle continued. “If you have problems, challenges, or issues there is help available from this chain of command all the way down, to help you get the resources you need. Do not suffer in silence.”
Also in September, a new report revealed that the Department of Veterans Affairs suicide hotline received more than 35,000 calls during the two-week period between the fall of the U.S.-backed Afghan government and the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
According to the data provided to the Washington Examiner, there were approximately 2,300 more calls to the VA hotline during the two-week period than there were during the same period of time last year. That number represents an approximately seven percent increase in the call volume to the VA hotline during the time frame.
Earlier this month, Afghanistan War veteran and former New York congressional candidate, U.S. Army Major Kyle Van De Water, 41, was found dead in Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery in what police said was a “likely suicide,” just days after he dropped out of his run for the US House.