Fort Hood’s leaders have tried nearly everything to stop the suicides. There are support groups and hotlines, counseling sessions and Reiki healing therapies, and strict assessment guidelines for commanders.
But the soldiers keep killing themselves. This past weekend, four more were dead at the Texas post, all of them decorated veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, three of them sergeants, two of them fathers of young children.
All four appear to have shot themselves, according to preliminary reports gathered for the Army’s Suicide Prevention Task Force. Their deaths, which did not appear to be related, came within a few days of a visit from the Army’s vice chief of staff, who reiterated his urgent plea for hurting soldiers to seek help.
“Every one of these is tragic,” said Maj. Gen. William Grimsley, who commands Fort Hood, the nation's largest Army post. “It’s personally and professionally frustrating as a leader.”
So far, 104 Army troops have killed themselves this year, a rate that eclipses the one in the civilian world. The rate at Fort Hood, where 14 suicides already are confirmed this year and six other deaths are under investigation, is nearly four times that of the civilian population.
Full story: Four suicides in a week stun Fort Hood.