An Inside Look at Toxic Leadership in the US Army: On the Dark Side in Al Doura, Iraq (2011)


U.S. Army Ranger John Needham, who was awarded two purple hearts and three medals for heroism, wrote to military authorities in 2007 reporting war crimes that he witnessed being committed by his own command and fellow soldiers in Al Doura, Iraq. His charges were supported by atrocity photos which, in the public interest, are now released in this video. John paid a terrible price for his opposition to these acts. His story is tragic. –On the Dark Side in Al Doura

After watching the 2011 documentary ‘On the Dark Side in Al Doura’ which profiles the case of Army Private John Needham, one can clearly observe the similarities to ‘The Kill Team’ PBS documentary released in 2014. On the Dark Side in Al Doura interviewed Michael Needham, the father of John Needham, who was an Army whistleblower from Fort Carson, Colorado and reported witnessing war crimes and atrocities in Iraq; The Kill Team profiled Adam Winfield, an Army whistleblower from Fort Lewis, Washington who witnessed and tried to report the same war crimes and atrocities in Afghanistan. For the sake of preservation, both John Needham and Adam Winfield admitted feeling pressured to conform or risk their own lives if they didn’t. They both felt like they were being set up to die or participate in the war crimes. Both soldiers at times felt like suicide was their only way out because there was no safe place for them to report overseas nor could they escape the situation. If they made it out of the war zone alive, the return home didn’t fair well for them. The PBS documentary  ‘The Wounded Platoon’ released in 2010 reveals the impacts the wars overseas had on Fort Carson soldiers. After watching these three documentaries, it’s clear why our soldier’s combat experiences traumatized and changed some of them. They not only had to fight a credible threat on the battlefields but some were betrayed by the very team they depended on for their lives.

Michael Needham takes us through the series of events that occurred in the course of John’s short Army career. He shared how John was the fifth generation in the family to fight in a war. John volunteered to join the Army in the spring of 2006, went to Fort Benning, Georgia for training, and then got stationed at Fort Carson. John was an Army Ranger assigned to the 212th, 2nd Combat Team, 12th Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was part of the infamous team known as the ‘Lethal Warriors’ which now appears to be disbanded. Part of his initiation into his new band of brothers was fighting other soldiers to determine where one fell in the pecking order. John held his own in the fights and was respected for his wins. According to John, the soldiers that didn’t fair so well in the fights were ‘smoked’ by leadership and peers, which ultimately forced them to leave, quit, or commit suicide. In October of 2006 John was deployed with his Fort Carson team to Al Doura, Iraq. His team was assigned to the Quarter Cav which was known for having some of the deadliest fights in the Iraq war.

John was a good soldier. He worked hard, saved lives in Iraq, and was awarded three medals for heroism and two Purple Hearts. John excelled as part of team, was brave, and his resilience was admirable. But during the course of John’s deployment, he witnessed war crimes and other atrocities committed by leadership and his fellow soldiers that affected his morale. John would also admit that initially he wasn’t quiet about it and when he did question superiors, he was told he didn’t have the right to question leadership. He didn’t dare report the war crimes via e-mail or telephone because he knew leadership could monitor everything. So for the sake of preservation and life’s sake, he did what he had to do to get by and stay alive. John would share that the Army was short of personnel so most of the soldiers got driven into the ground and deprived of sleep. After awhile John felt that he was forced into committing war atrocities that were illegal but feared if he didn’t do it, he would become a liability to the team and ultimately a casualty of his own people.

One night John was sent out on a mission with a Lieutenant (who did not commit war crimes yet remained silent). John thought this was unusual because they didn’t usually get sent out in pairs. They were ambushed by three shooters in the middle of the night who were determined to see them dead. When the shooting began, John pushed the Lieutenant to safety and kept the shooters at bay. He shot every round he had and when he was almost out of ammunition, he called the 212th for back-up on the radio but nobody answered him. Luckily another team was nearby who did answer him and was able to extract the soldiers from the situation and save their lives. It would be this incident that would break John’s spirit. He immediately suspected that he and the other soldier were sent on this mission to be killed. When he got back to the base, he began yelling “Why did you set us up?” And “If you want to kill me, kill me to my face!” But nobody acknowledged him so he went back to his tent where he decided that he would commit suicide. John was exhausted, irate, and he saw no way out. He didn’t want to live anymore. He felt that committing suicide was his only way out. John put a handgun to his head but just as he got ready to pull the trigger, his roommate dove and pushed the gun away from his head. The gun discharged and put a hole in the wall. Soldiers immediately began ascending upon the area. According to John, once leadership learned what happened, they held him down and beat him then locked him in captivity in a small room. The Battalion Commander was the one who kept John captive yet he didn’t press any formal charges.

John’s father Michael learned through John’s friends in Afghanistan that John was being held captive by the Battalion Commander. They were concerned about him. John’s family was already concerned about John’s earlier e-mails and posts on MySpace because it sounded like he had given up, which was not like him. With this information Michael Needham contacted Army commands, Fort Carson, Congressional leaders and the Army Inspector General (IG). He reports that the only office that took him seriously at the time was the IG. Michael was trying to save his son’s life. He told the IG that he didn’t want him to die. The IG’s office shared a list of rights for both John and Michael. And it was at this time Michael learned that he had third party rights and could intervene and act on John’s behalf. Michael was finally able to get in touch with the Battalion Commander only to learn that John was being treated like a criminal. The Battalion Commander informed Michael that John committed crimes and was being sent to prison in Kuwait. But Michael was able to intervene and get the Command to send him to medical instead. Medical determined that John was severely injured both physically and mentally. He had significant back injuries from the multiple explosions and blasts, shrapnel in his body, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Army medical in Iraq referred John to medical in Germany and from there he would be sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the states. But not before the Battalion Commander would put up one more roadblock. Instead, Michael Needham won this battle and John was flown to Germany.

Eventually, John was sent to Ward 54 which is the psychiatric ward at Walter Reed. Michael shared that John appeared to like the psychiatric help he was getting. A month into John’s stay at Walter Reed, he was informed that the Iraq Battalion Commander contacted the 212th Command in Colorado and requested that John be sent back to Fort Carson where he was facing criminal charges including unlawful discharge of a weapon. They were making him go and sent armed guards to accompany him back to Fort Carson. Michael Needham tried to intervene with the 212th at Fort Carson but they said they couldn’t do anything because they had orders from the Battalion Commander. John was sent back to Fort Carson and the harassment he endured in Iraq continued with the 212th in Colorado. John shared that they mentally tortured him, banged on his barracks door, stole his things, and isolated him. It was at this time Michael elicited the help of a veteran advocate Andrew Pogany who went to the command in Colorado and held these people personally accountable. Andrew helps soldiers in John’s situation because he understands how important it is to intervene. John could not get the kind of help that he needed at Fort Carson. Michael shared that the soldiers could see see a professional once a week if they were suicidal and once a month if they were not. John’s father wanted him transferred to a Naval Medical Center in San Diego for intensive treatment and so he could be closer to home. Andrew helped make that happen.

Michael began to understand the impacts the war had on his son after John got back to California. John couldn’t handle driving above 35 mph, was suspicious of trash on the side of the road, and was easily startled by loud noises. He could not function in public and suffered with what is known as flashbacks. The Naval Medical Center in San Diego recommended that John get surgery on his back right away. They warned him that he could become paralyzed if he didn’t get the surgery. In the meantime Johns father spoke candidly with one of the Navy doctors about the treatment John received both in Iraq and at Fort Carson. He reiterated that he was concerned about his well being and asked him to help him find a way to prevent John from being sent back to Fort Carson, Colorado. Michael Needham feared that if John got sent back to Fort Carson that he would not return. This doctor agreed to help John. And Andrew Pogany recommended that John report the war crimes to the Army in an effort to protect John from being complicit and implicated in the future. John reported to the Army that he witnessed both leadership and peers killing innocent Iraqi civilians during the October 2006 to October 2007 timeframe in and around Al Doura. It wasn’t long after John made the report that all the charges against him were dropped and Fort Carson gave the necessary approval to transfer him to Balboa Naval Command. John went in front of the medical board and was medically retired for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and back injuries. He was discharged honorably from the Army. The Army investigated John’s claims but concluded that no war crimes were committed.

Michael and John won a lot of battles with the US Army but soon they would lose the war. Just days after John was discharged from the Army, he would be accused of beating his new girlfriend to death with his bare hands. John Needham was charged with the murder of Jacqwelyn Villagomez and jailed for ten months until his family raised enough money to get him out on bail. John was not given treatment while jailed so the family was motivated to get him out so he could get the treatment he needed. John did in fact follow through with getting treatment and he learned a lot about himself in the process. He spent some time on camera talking about how the combat stress and the betrayal from his team impacted him. He talked about how he didn’t realize the significant impacts from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. John recognized how PTSD and TBI did in fact play a role in his fight or flight response mechanisms and that it may be because these conditions went untreated that he snapped and beat his girlfriend to death. The two were in a heated argument after Jacqwelyn attacked one of John’s female friends. Both of them were volatile but unfortunately there were no witnesses to the event as John’s friend was outside the home calling the police to report Jacqwelyn. While John was awaiting trial, he went to Arizona to get another surgery and visit with his mom. On February 19, 2010 following treatment at the Department of Veterans Affairs, John would be found dead in his room from an overdose on painkillers. The cause of death at autopsy was considered undetermined and it is unclear if John accidentally overdosed or committed suicide.

Brig. Gen. Stephen Xenakis, M.D. (Ret.), a former top military psychiatrist who until recently was a consultant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told us: “[TBI ]most sensitively affects executive functioning, that part of the brain that we use for judgment and we use for decision making … when we are in situations of intense emotion. So if a person is affected neurologically … they don’t have the controls that they had before. … They can’t think as clearly. …They are really vulnerable to just reacting, overreacting, particularly maybe doing something that they had done when they’d been in combat.” –The Wounded Platoon

As a parent, Michael Needham has questions for the Army. Why don’t they even recognize the problem? Why don’t they take care of the soldiers? And why did they leave his son John Needham behind? The documentary ‘On the Dark Side in Al Doura’ concludes with the reminder that since the Patriot Act was passed and Dick Cheney declared that we needed to go into the shadows, the definition of torture has been blurred. The Abu Ghraib prisoner torture and abuse scandal erupted under the Bush administration in 2003 but no war crimes have been investigated under President Barack Obama’s administration. If the rule of law has been lost, what do we have? Our military personnel have a responsibility to abide by the rules established by the Geneva Conventions. John Needham and Adam Winfield both reported witnessing innocent civilians murdered by their fellow leadership and peers in Iraq and Afghanistan. They both also shared the impact the crimes had on their mental health. They wished they could have reported the crimes to someone who would have listened and understood that their lives were in danger. We can learn a lot from John Needham and Adam Winfield; they have experienced what it’s like to be a whistleblower in the US Army. They have clearly illustrated what toxic leadership in the Army looks like and how whistleblowers in the US military have nowhere to turn.

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Private John Needham, US Army

Related Links:
Dateline NBC Mystery: Private Needhams War
PBS Documentary: The Wounded Platoon
On the Dark Side in Al Doura: A Soldier in the Shadows
PBS Documentary: The Kill Team
The PBS Documentary ‘The Kill Team’ Nominated for an Emmy
Retired Army Pvt John Needham Beat his Girlfriend Jacqwelyn Villagomez to Death, Then Died of an Overdose on Painkillers Awaiting Murder Trial (2008)
Honoring Jacqwelyn Villagomez who Died at the Hands of Retired Army Private John Needham (2008)

Veteran James Jennings Jr Casualty of ‘Suicide by Cop’ in Richland County, South Carolina (2016)

PTSD

Richland County Sheriff’s Department says a man who engaged in an hours-long standoff with law enforcement agents on August 8th was a former member of the military and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. James Jennings Jr., 69, died from multiple gunshot wounds to the upper body, one self-inflicted. Police were called to a domestic situation at Jennings’ residence. Jennings barricaded himself inside his home and police responded after he pointed a weapon at his wife and threatened to kill her. “He wanted us to kill him,” said the Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. After he went down he was transported to the hospital where he later died from the injuries. The Sheriff’s Department said that Jennings suffered from PTSD after serving in the military and believes it played a role in his death.

“It is real, these people are suffering and they need help.” Sheriff Lott

Sheriff: Man in “suicide by cop” case was ex-military with PTSD

Complex Post Traumatic Stress and Dissociation in Military and Veteran Populations

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“Dissociation can be defined as disruptions in aspects of consciousness, identity, memory, physical actions and/or the environment.” –Healthy Place

Dissociation in military and veterans is an issue that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves yet explains a lot of things. Dissociation tends to occur mostly with those who have complex Post Traumatic Stress. It is also referred to as blacking out.

Related Links:
Dissociation Explained
Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorder
Coming Apart: Trauma and the Fragmentation of the Self
How Trauma Can Lead to Dissociative Disorders
Working with Complex PTSD, Dissociation, and EMDR Therapy
Complex Trauma and Dissociation
Altered Circuits May Cause ‘Out-Of-Body’ Symptoms in Some People with PTSD
PTSD and Dissociation: What You Need to Know
Complex PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder
Complex PTSD and the Realm of Dissociation
The Dissociative Subtype of PTSD: National Center for PTSD
Reexperiencing/Hyperaroused and Dissociative States in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Dissociative Symptomatology in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Disorders of Extreme Stress
Treatment of PTSD and Disassociation

Brandon Ransom, US Army Veteran, Georgia

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Brandon Allen Ransom, US Army

Related Links:
Plum’s Lounge shooting suspect surrenders to police
Dothan Police Release Identity of Suspect in Weekend Murder
Attorney: Dothan murder suspect an Army veteran diagnosed with PTSD
Attorney seeks to get accused killer out of jail

The Army Stands Ready to Investigate Any Reports & Allegations of Sexual Assault Going Back to 2000 or Earlier

Claim: Sexual assault victims punished and lose health care benefits as a result.

HRW claims in their report that many service members lose their military career after being sexually assaulted & they have discharge papers that prevent them from getting health benefits.

DoD rejected the conclusions of the HRW report.

DoD states “they have many victims of sexual assault who receive honorable discharges from the military. There is a policy in place that offers assistance for anyone that reports a sexual assault. It is critical every survivor is treated with sensitivity that they deserve.”

Media states that victim was raped multiple times while serving her country and that they contacted the DoD and Army about her case, a case from 15 years ago.

She states that she was military intelligence, had lots of prescreening prior to enlistment. Promising path, requested by Chain of Command to apply to West Point. After first rape in military, her promising path turned to being retaliated against, and there were two more rapes for reporting the rape. It ended career with an illegal, bogus, discharge. Decade and a half later, still fighting to correct it.

Continue reading

Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (US Army)

Fort Bragg Map

*Research Not Complete

Fort Bragg equips, trains, rapidly deploys, and sustains full spectrum forces supporting Combatant Commanders from a Community of Excellence where Soldiers, Families and Civilians thrive.

Iris Armstrong, US Army (2016)
Army investigating death of Fort Bragg soldier
Army: Fort Bragg soldier’s death investigated as a homicide
FBI offers $5K reward for man suspected of killing Fort Bragg soldier
Man found dead after police standoff was wanted for soldier’s Fort Bragg murder

Jeanie Ditty, US Army (2016)
Area Woman Charged in NC Child Death
Jeanie Ditty: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

David Penix, US Army (2016): Homicide Victim
Fort Bragg Man Charged with Murder in Fellow Soldier’s Death

Johnathan Simpson, US Army (2016)
Fort Bragg soldier accused of raping fellow soldier

Ryan Walker, US Army (2016)
Fort Bragg Man Charged with Murder in Fellow Soldier’s Death

Javore Blackwell, Civilian (2015)
Second Arrest Made in Connection with Fort Bragg Soldier’s Murder
Second man charged in April homicide of Fort Bragg soldier

Joseph Carreiro, US Army (2015)
Westport soldier dies in Fort Bragg, cause of death unknown

Anthony Pantano, US Army (2015)
Soldier accused of causing Fort Bragg woman’s death found dead

Nicholas Roberts, US Army (2015)
82nd Airborne paratrooper killed at Fort Bragg, the latest in a series of military training deaths
Investigation: Loose Rucksack Contributed to Army Paratrooper’s Death

Joshua Wheeler, US Army (2015)
Fort Bragg soldier killed fighting ISIL remembered as ‘really respectful’

Robert Williams, Civilian (2015)
Second man charged in April homicide of Fort Bragg soldier

Adacia Bruton, US Army (2014)
Police make arrest in Fort Bragg soldier’s murder

James Groth, US Army (2015)
Paratrooper dies during training at Fort Bragg

Cory Muzzy, US Army (2015)
Live-fire training accident changed Fort Bragg soldier’s life in a flash

Omar Velez-Pagan, US Army (2014): Homicide
Fort Bragg soldier to face court-martial in Panama slaying
Trial venue for military killing sparks outrage
Court-martial: Velez-Pagan found guilty of unpremeditated murder

Allen Thomas, US Army Veteran (2013): Homicide-Suicide
Murder-suicide leaves many searching for answers
911 calls: Neighbors tried to help couple slain in murder-suicide

Sean Wells, US Army (2013): Homicide Victim

Darron Wright, US Army (2013)
Iraq veteran, author killed in Bragg training exercise
Fort Bragg Colonel Killed in Parachute Malfunction Accident
Col. Darron Wright, Mesquite native, career Army officer who served in Iraq, dies at 45
How a jump turned fatal at Fort Bragg

Christopher Blackett, US Army (2012)
Two Fort Bragg Soldiers ‘Murdered 17-Year-Old They Played Basketball with Then Dumped his Body in Woods’

Kelli Bordeaux, US Army (2012): Homicide Victim

Sebastian Gamez, US Army (2012)
Two Fort Bragg Soldiers ‘Murdered 17-Year-Old They Played Basketball with Then Dumped his Body in Woods’

Joshua Eisenhauer, US Army (2012): Attempted Homicide

Nicholas Holbert, Civilian (2012): Homicide of Army Soldier

Giocondo Navek, Civilian (2012)
Gun used in doctor killing same as in N.C. death
Authorities probe link between dead woman in N.C. and two doctors killed in N.J.
Doc showed signs of instability before slayings

Wade Page, US Army Veteran (2012)
Police identify Army veteran as Wisconsin temple shooting gunman
Hate groups have uneasy history with military base

Jeffrey Sinclair, US Army (2012)
General charged with sex crimes
Aide says general in sex case threatened to kill her, family
Women say they sent nude photos to general

Seth Andrews, US Army (2011)
Enterprise woman killed in Fort Bragg murder-suicide

Kenneth Clark, US Army (2011)
NC Man Found Not Guilty in Soldier Shooting Death

Brandon Mims, US Army (2011)
Fort Bragg Soldier Accused in Murder Back in NC

Breon Smith, US Army (2011): Homicide Victim
Arrest made in murder of Fort Bragg soldier
NC man acquitted of shooting of Fort Bragg soldier

Nicholas Bailey, US Army (2010): Homicide-Iraq

Mathew Golsteyn, US Army (2010)
In leaked report, Army alleges Green Beret confessed to murder

Morganne McBeth, US Army (2010): Non Combat Death-Homicide

Jacob Swanson, US Army (2009)
Fort Bragg Iraq war vet kills girlfriend, then himself

Kyle Alden, US Marine Corps (2008): Homicide of Army Soldier

Matthew Kvapil, US Army (2008): Homicide of Army Soldier

Edgar Patino, US Army (2008): Homicide of Army Soldier

Matthew Rhoads, US Army (2008): Cause of Death Unknown

Christina Smith, US Army (2008): Homicide Victim

Richard Smith, US Army (2008): Homicide of Wife

Megan Touma, US Army (2008): Homicide Victim

Holley Wimunc, US Army (2008): Homicide Victim

John Wimunc, US Marine Corps (2008): Homicide of Army Soldier

Michael Barbera, US Army (2007)
Army drops murder charges against soldier, Staten Island native Michael Barbera, over Iraqi boys’ deaths

Charles Robinson, US Army (2005)
Enemy explosive kills local soldier A bomb detonated Friday near a vehicle carrying Capt. Charles D. Robinson, 29, outside Orgun-e, Afghanistan

Jeffrey Toczylowski, US Army (2005)
Soldier’s last mail: If I die, no regret An Army captain wrote an e-mail to his family and friends just before his death in Iraq

James Valentine, US Army spouse (2005)
Bragg Soldier From Kentucky Killed in Murder-Suicide

Andrew Baddick, US Army (2003)
Pa. soldier in Iraq drowns in rescue try

Sherman Cooley, US Army (2002)
Arrest in Fort Bragg Gun Slay

Andrea Floyd, US Army Retired (2002): Homicide Victim

Brandon Floyd, US Army (2002): Homicide-Suicide

Cedric Griffin, US Army (2002)
4 Wives Slain In 6 Weeks At Fort Bragg

Jonathan Meadows, US Army (2002)
Fort Bragg’s Deadly Summer

Rigoberto Nieves, US Army (2002)
4 Wives Slain In 6 Weeks At Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg’s Deadly Summer
Army’s Malaria Drug Linked To Three Fort Bragg Wife Killings

David Shannon, US Army (2002): Homicide Victim

Joan Shannon, US Army Spouse (2002): Homicide

William Wright, US Army (2002)
4 Wives Slain In 6 Weeks At Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg’s Deadly Summer
Army’s Malaria Drug Linked To Three Fort Bragg Wife Killings

John Diamond, US Army (2000): Homicide of USAF Officer

Frank Theer, US Air Force (2000): Homicide Victim

Michelle Theer, US Air Force Spouse (2000): Homicide of USAF Husband

Forest Nelson, US Army (1999)
Ex-Army officer guilty of murder

James Burmeister, US Army (1995)
Ex-G.I. at Fort Bragg Is Convicted in Killing of 2 Blacks

William Kreutzer, US Army (1995)
Judge sets sentence for Bragg shooting spree

Randy Meadows, US Army (1995)
Ex-paratrooper Gets Probation For Role In Murders

Malcolm Wright, US Army (1995)
2nd Ex-soldier Is Sentenced To Life In Slaying Of 2 Blacks

Erwin Graves, US Army (1993)
A Ft. Bragg Summer Meant A Tragic End For A Young Soldier

Kimberly Ruggles, Civilian (1987): Rape & Homicide Victim

Ronald Gray, US Army (1986): Rape & Homicide; Death Sentence

Laura Vickery-Clay, US Army (1986): Rape & Homicide Victim

Cara Eastburn, US Air Force Dependent (1985): Homicide Victim

Erin Eastburn, US Air Force Dependent (1985): Homicide Victim

Kathryn Eastburn, US Air Force Spouse (1985): Homicide Victim

Timothy Hennis, US Army (1985): Rape & Homicide; Death Sentence

Alvin Williams, US Army (1980)
Parachute Rigger Faces Murder Rap
Parachute Rigger Cleared in Death

Jeffrey MacDonald, US Army (1970)
On-Scene Detective Identifies Cult Members Responsible for 1970 MacDonald ‘Green Beret’ Murders & Army/Police Complicity in Cover-up
Three Trials for Murder
The Fort Bragg murders: is Jeffrey MacDonald innocent?
Jeffrey MacDonald DNA: Army Doctor Convicted Of Killing Pregnant Wife, Kids Could Clear Name
Maybe Jeffrey MacDonald was innocent after all

Related Links:
A War at Home
The Fort Bragg Murders
4 Wives Slain In 6 Weeks At Fort Bragg
Rash of Wife Killings Stuns Ft. Bragg
Rash of Wife Killings at Ft. Bragg Leaves the Base Wondering Why
Army Instituting Broad Inquiry at Fort Bragg After 4 Killings
Base Crimes. The military has a domestic violence problem.
A History of Shootings at Military Installations in the U.S.
Fort Bragg, Page’s Army base had white supremacists
Fort Bragg soldier killed in skydiving accident

Prosecutors Reopen Investigation into Cause of Death of Disabled Army Veteran Felicia Reeves Found Hanging in a New Jersey Motel Room (2015)

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Felicia Reeves, US Army

US Army veteran Felicia Reeves, 40, was found hanging August 19, 2015 in a bathroom in a room at the Royal Motel in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Initially the police ruled her death a suicide but the family questioned the investigator’s decision. One year later, Union County prosecutor’s reopened the probe into the investigation of Felicia to determine if in fact this was a homicide. According to her family, Felicia Reeves was a disabled veteran and had ties to organized criminal elements who might have wanted to silence her. The family also shared that she was sexually assaulted while stationed in Korea and her back was hurt during the attack which is what caused her permanent disability. She suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well. Felicia escaped a couple abusive relationships and in the past couple years became associated with people who appeared to be taking advantage of her and manipulating her. Felicia’s painkiller prescription from the Department of Veterans Affairs was a frequent target for her new found friends. Felicia was in the process of trying to get custody of her two sons and had recently become concerned that she may be in danger.

“Reeves had been in several bad relationships before her death and didn’t trust other people. Reeves’ sister, Suzan Bayorgeon, told the news outlet that Reeves had repeatedly commented that if she were discovered dead, it would be a murder.” -NJ.com

Family disputes police claims about daughter’s case
Death of WNC Veteran Raises More Questions than Answers
Hendersonville family questions circumstances of Felicia Reeves’ death
Hendersonville Family Raises Questions About Sister’s Suicide
Sister warned to stop seeking answers about death of Felicia Reeves
What happened to Felicia Reeves?
Army vet’s family questions whether she really took her own life
Death of Hendersonville woman, ruled a suicide, now reviewed as possible homicide
NJ, NC authorities looking into Reeves’ death, disappearance
Prosecutors reopen probe into Army vet found dead in motel

Misconduct or PTSD? The Impacts of Not Treating Soldiers After War

Source: Department of Veteran Affairs

Source: Department of Veteran Affairs

Iraq war vet who murdered park ranger before freezing to death in snow was stationed at U.S. Army’s most troubled base (Jan 2012)

Soldier wrote Facebook suicide note before Springs crash (Jan 2012)

Experts: Vets’ PTSD, violence a growing problem (Jan 2012)

US Military Suicides Continue to Climb, Reaching Record in 2012 (Jan 2013)

Suicidal Man Shot by Police was Veteran with PTSD (Jan 2013)

Charts: Suicide, PTSD and the Psychological Toll on America’s Vets (Jan 2013)

PTSD is an epidemic for military vets and their families (Jan 2013)

PTSD-Related Suicide Hits Close to Home (Jan 2013)

Afghan massacre: Sgt Bales case echoes loudly for ex-soldiers on hotline for vets (Jan 2013)

PTSD suicide more deadly to American Soldiers than combat! (Jan 2013)

To be continued…

Senator Collins speaks in support of efforts to address military sexual assault

Video

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins spoke on the Senate floor today in strong support of legislation coming before the Senate that would address the crisis of sexual assault in the military.

“Since 2004, I have been sounding the alarm over the military’s ineffective response to the growing crisis of sexual assault in the military, including the need to ensure appropriate punishment for the perpetrators, to provide adequate care for the survivors of such reprehensible crimes, and to change the culture across the military so that sexual assault is unthinkable,” said Senator Collins, who first raised this issue during an Armed Services Committee hearing ten years ago.

In her remarks on the Senate floor, she singled out for praise the courage of two Mainers who have come forward to tell their stories.

“I also want to acknowledge the courage and conviction of Jennifer Norris and Ruth Moore – two Mainers who were sexually assaulted while serving and have made it their mission to change the broken system that does not put victims first. Through their advocacy, they have helped to shine a light on this crisis and deserve our gratitude.”

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

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What is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

When in danger, it’s natural to feel afraid. This fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to prepare to defend against the danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. But in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this reaction is changed or damaged. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger.

PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers.

PTSD was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, but it can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes.

FMI, please click here.