Why I have opened the window!

Amerykah has turned a corner and we should all turn with it. I have thoughts ideas and suggestions but I also have patience and desire for us to be whole and one. I have been speaking a lot lately of the human condition and the generations of Black Americans. i will entertain any and all conversation as long as we can be respectful and grown up. Let the healing begin......

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Alert Eagles land for a three day rest.

I heard about this story on “The Ed Show” on MSNBC but they never went into a lot of detail about it. Ft. Campbell, home of the 101st Airborne, located on the Kentucky/ Tennessee border closed down for 3 days due to the high rate of soldier suicide in this year alone. Here is the whole story…

“Fort Campbell, KY (NewsBahn) - With at least 11 confirmed suicides this year Fort Campbell Army Base in Kentucky is closing down for three days to allow commanders to identify at-risk soldiers and help them with their mental health issues.

To gain some perspective on why the Army would order a stand-down of Fort Campbell, the 11 suicides there were a significant number of the total 64 suicides the Army experienced so far this year and Army officials are also investigating some other deaths as possible suicides.

Fort Campbell began the stand-down Wednesday and officials are working to identify anyone who has feelings of wanting to hurt themselves. As stress levels go up in the military, many soldiers are having trouble dealing with resulting mental health issues.

Base commander, Brig. Gen. Stephen Townsend, spoke to the 19,000 soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division.

He told the soldiers that if anyone needed help to just ask, he told them that he had no way of knowing if they needed help unless they asked. Soldiers are sometimes reluctant to ask for help with mental health issues.

Following an Army suicide prevention program in March there were no suicides for six weeks, but last week there were two, leading to the decision to stand-down for three days and try to reach soldiers grappling with suicidal feelings before they act on those feelings.”

Now a little history, I lived in Oak Grove, KY for a little over a year. I was in a relationship with a retired soldier and had moved there with him. It was not that long of a time but it was very eye opening. Having lived in Chicago my entire life I was not use to the synergy that existed between a small town and a industry, kind of like Detroit and the auto industry.

Oak Grove is one of the trhee cities that Ft. Campbell is located in and is in fact the official address of the base as that is where the main gate is located. The other two cities are Hopkinsville, KY and Clarksville, TN.

Everything in this trifecta area is military. The base itself provides literally everything one might need to live, honestly if you have never been on a Army base go. It is a small self contained city, and soldiers are well taken care of. But as you do better and you get a family ( or a gay lover) you branch out and move into the community.

Ok so here is the scary thing. 11 people in this rather small community decided it was time to end it all and took their own lives, I don’t mean to sound like a ghoul but I am glad they decided to just take their own lives and not take anyone with them.

Think about it, these people are not only highly combat trained but they actually have access to all the weapons they need to lay siege to any part of the community. I am not talking about Tanks, I am talking about small and medium arms weapons, plastic explosives, etc…

These are not the folks you want flipping out cause give the choice between the professional soldier and the local banger with a uzi I will take my chances will the Ray Ray and them any day.

I am glad that this issue is being addressed but Ft. Campbell , while one of the larger bases, is not the only base around. I don’t have the answer as to what needs to be done but clearly something needs to be done and fast. These soldiers need our help and support and they need to be respected by the government they gave up their sanity for.

Story by Linda Young - AHN Editor

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Thanks for this post--it is an under-reported issue and seems to be a clear casualty/result of PTSD and the nature of the Iraq/Afghanistan war.

Suicide, in general, is such a complicated and heartwrenching issue. I had a best friend commit suicide while in college. It lingers. I can't imagine the impact this is having on this small town.

And on a completely UNRELATED note, you have won the APA Heritage book giveaway! Congratulations! I've posted instructions on my blog "Mixed Race America." Thanks for being a regular reader Derrick (and thanks for letting me de-lurk!)