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Solider Suicides

By: AP
By: AP

Some people are questioning the Army's conclusion that the suicides of three soldiers assigned to a Fort Carson-based Special Forces unit had nothing in common.

Chief Warrant Officer William Howell was a combat soldier. Sergeant First Class Andre McDaniel was a military accountant. Specialist Jeremy Wilson was an electronics repairman.

Each of them committed suicide shortly after returning home to their base south of Colorado Springs, all within about a 17-month period.

The Army says there appears to be no connection between the men's service in Iraq and their deaths. It also says the fact they were all assigned to the Tenth Special Forces Group is only a coincidence.

But veterans' advocate and former Army Ranger Steve Robinson says he thinks there could be a problem in the unit -- namely, a refusal to acknowledge stress and seek help.

He says the military has been trying to reduce a stigma associated with seeking such help, but he says he has heard that little progress has been made in this unit.

A spokesman for the Tenth Special Forces Group won't comment. And the Army Special Operations Command says morale in the unit appears to be high because the re-enlistment rate is among the highest in the command.

Robinson has been pushing military leaders to make other changes. He wants them to stop using paper questionnaires to screen for problems among returning soldiers and switch to face-to-face meetings with mental health professionals.


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