U.S. Army soldiers from K Troop, Third Squadron, Third Armored Cavalry Regiment, patrol in Mosul, Iraq Tuesday, March 25, 2008. The northern city is considered by the U.S. military as the last urban stronghold for al-Qaida in Iraq. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar has asked Army Secretary Pete Geren to investigate a string of slayings allegedly involving Fort Carson soldiers after they returned from deployments in Iraq.
Five soldiers from the post's 4th Brigade Combat Team have been charged with homicides and a sixth has been charged with attempted murder. Fort Carson announced week it would re-screen about 1,200 soldiers from the brigade for potential physical or mental health problems.
In his letter delivered Friday, Salazar asked Geren to also examine the personnel records of the soldiers accused in the deaths, including whether they've been flagged for mental health concerns and what steps the Army has taken.
In response to Salazar's letter, Ft. Carson officials released the following statements from Commanding General Mark Graham:
"I spoke to Senator Salazar today regarding his concerns outlined in his
letter to Secretary of the Army Geren," Graham said. "We are all
saddened by the recent murder of Ms. Judi Lawrence and our thoughts and prayers are with her family.
"We have many great young Americans in our Army who have volunteered to serve during a time of war, almost all of whom are great citizens.
However, we too are very concerned about these horrible acts. Therefore, I have established a comprehensive task force to identify any commonalities between previous homicides by our Soldiers or former Soldiers. This task force is comprised of representatives from legal, medical (to include behavioral health), law enforcement and human resources, and will report directly to me.
"This remains the land of the Free ... Because of the Brave."