As I write, Gayle is flying in a perfectly good airplane back to Jacksonville from Manchester, New Hampshire. At the same time, our son is jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at Ft. Bragg. And it's a full moon. Hmmmm. The jumping-out-of-an-airplane part of my son's military career is something I have yet to fathom. I don't even like flying.
For those of you who are stopping by from Jan Wesner's Standing By, the blog post she references is down below. It is titled "Faces of our loved ones."
More attention is being paid to war deaths resulting from what the Department of Defense labels " injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident." My son had told me about one incident in which a first sergeant had committed suicide in front of his men last year. It took place in Admiyah, a Sunni neighborhood not far from where our son's battalion patrolled. The story went like this: A number of soldiers in the first sergeant's company had been killed and he had taken it very badly. On a patrol with media in tow, he jumped out of his Humvee and shot himself. His team members took positions as if a sniper had attacked. It turns out that most of the story was true except for the media. The Army Times and the Fort Worth Star Telegram have written extensively about the incident. The Army Times story can be found here.
As of May 3, there have been 123 suicides in the Iraq and Afghanistan combat zones.