EL PASO, Texas - Fort Bliss has suffered four preventable soldier deaths in 2013. The latest was two weekends ago.
The soldier was assigned to 11th ADA Brigade and died after suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in his off-post home.
"We do not know if our fellow soldier intended to take his own life as the facts surrounding his death are under investigation," Fort Bliss Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard wrote in his Fort Bliss Monitor column last week. "We do know that it is senseless for an American Soldier to die like this here in El Paso in his own home. We are 66 days into 2013 and this is our fourth preventable Soldier death of the calendar year! We can't prevent all loss of life, but we must do something to stop this spike in preventable Soldier deaths. We can accept loss in combat; but, not here at home station. Leaders, stay engaged and intrusive. Fellow Soldiers, please look after your battle buddies. If something feels wrong, say something! If your battle buddy is not his or her usual self, tell someone! Seeking help, similar to calling for fire support in combat, is a strength. Seek help!"
Pittard also wrote about a soldier being able to prevent another soldier's suicide.
"During a recent iteration of the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), a newly arrived Soldier assigned to 2/1 AD going through the class received a call from a buddy that set off alarms. As the soldier was learning about the warning signs of suicide, this call brought all of the training to life. His friend was in a dark place and needed help. Our soldier knew exactly what questions to ask and what to do to save a life. Because he had been trained on the skills needed to coax an individual from thoughts of death back into thoughts of life, he was able to intervene and stop a potential suicide," Pittard wrote. "The ASIST model works and is a great tool in reducing preventable deaths. If you have not yet been to this training, I encourage you to schedule your class. I know we are all busy; but, taking a few days out of our schedule to learn how to save a life is always worth it. If you find yourself in a dark place, seek help. Fort Bliss has more ASIST-trained Soldiers than any other installation in the Army. There are people surrounding you that can help. You can also call the Military One Source Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or the Fort Bliss on-duty chaplain 24 hours a day at 915-637-4265. Remember, seeking help is a strength!"