Army Veteran Brandon Brown Found Unresponsive in Harker Heights, Texas Home; Death Ruled Suicide by Local PD; Family Seeks Answers (March 20, 2020)

Brandon Brown 1

Brandon Brown, U.S. Army Veteran (photo: family)

Army veteran Brandon Brown 34, of Harker Heights, Texas, formerly of Shelbyville, Tennessee was found unresponsive on March 20, 2020 in his Harker Heights, Texas home. The Harker Heights Police Department’s cause of death ruling was suicide (self-inflicted gunshot wound). Brandon was preceded in death by his brother, Cameron Matthew Murray. He is survived by his parents and six siblings. According to family, Brandon was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 2013 and his last place of duty was at Fort Hood, Texas. Brandon was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression; he sought care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The family feels uneasy about the entire situation and rightfully wants answers and justice for their loved one. Why would the local police department refuse entry in a “crime scene” when the death was ruled suicide? Why was the family not allowed to make an identification? Why did it take so long for them to receive Brandon’s body? Why was the Justice of the Peace pressuring the family to agree with the suicide ruling? Why pressure the family to cremate their loved one when it’s entirely up to them to make that decision. Help us hold the Harker Heights Police Department accountable and elevate the family’s voices so they can get Justice for Brandon Brown.

The circumstances surrounding the death of Brandon Brown are described in the below testimony by family:

On March 20, 2020 my brother, Brandon Brown, was found deceased in his home in Harker Heights, Texas. My mother received two phone calls before the detective called, one phone call she received was informing her the police gained access to the house, and then the other was a female telling my mother “She needed to get a pen and paper and write down this phone number. It’s not good but you have to hear it.” Then she went on to say, “It’s bad but not that bad.” Leaving us with false hope that Brandon was okay. Once the detective called my mother he informed her Brandon was found his home deceased and it was an apparent suicide. No one had heard from Brandon since around March 11, 2020. Family members called asking the Harker Heights Police Department to do a welfare check numerous times and we had the Veterans Affairs on the phone expressing the importance to get into his house due to Brandon having PTSD and depression. In the police report the detective wrote,” … there was no indication anything was wrong…”

On March 21, 2020 we arrived in Harker Heights, Texas at Brandon’s residence and there were two vehicles in the driveway. Two of my siblings got out of the vehicle to see who was at Brandon’s house and a man answered the door and quickly pulled the door up to his neck when my siblings stated who they were. He told them and my mother they could not come in because it was an active crime scene. As they were walking back from the house, another vehicle pulled up and a female got out with an attitude, and told my mother the man in the house was correct, it’s an active crime scene, he was the only one allowed in the house. (She was also on the phone with a person I choose not to identify at the moment.) The police were called and we got back into the vehicle to wait for them to arrive. While we were waiting both the male and female were on the porch laughing, pointing at the car, and going in and out of Brandon’s house. Neither of these individuals know any of us in the vehicle but gave statements to the police on March 20, 2020 saying we were “wretched” and “… it could get ugly.” The other individual stated “she was familiar with the family and was actually on the phone with her brother…”

It took exactly a month for them to release Brandon’s body so we could bring him back to Tennessee. They did not allow my mother or Brandon’s father to identify his body. The Justice of the Peace even tried to pressure my mother into say she believed Brandon died by suicide. They were pushing for cremation telling us his skin was falling off the bone.

We, the Brown family, need your help to find out what really took place with our loved one. We have reasonable doubt that foul play has taken place with our loved one. We do not believe the Harker Heights Police Department’s investigation was thorough or efficient in their findings.

-Brandon’s Family

Brandon Brown 2

Brandon Brown, U.S. Army Veteran (photo: family)

Related Links:
Obituary: Brandon Marquis Brown
Obituary: Brandon Marquis Brown
Justice for Brandon Brown | Facebook
Military Justice for All | Facebook
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

Army Veteran Corry Willis Passed Away in Killeen, Texas; Fought a Brave Battle With PTSD After Two Consecutive Combat Tours (August 13, 2019)

Corry Willis

Corry Willis, U.S. Army Veteran (photo: Dignity Memorial)

“To Corry Durrell Willis, the entire world was a stage. An expressive, optimistic, and uninhibited individual, he was a performer in the theater of life. To everyone around him, he seemed to be eternally happy, and he willingly shared that joy with anyone whose life he touched. For Corry, bringing out the best in any situation was as easy as offering a smile, a witty remark or the twinkle of an eye. And with just those simple gestures, he could evoke the most pleasant of emotions. Corry really mastered the art of living and had great fun in doing so.” 

“Corry was an Army Veteran. He was in the First Cavalry Division, 4th ID and 9th ID. Corry saw action in Iraq and Kuwait during 2 consecutive tours. Through his hard work and dedication, he achieved the rank of SPC/E4. He received several awards including a National Defense Service Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal x2; Army Commendation Medal x2; Army Achievement Medal x2; Korea Defense Service Medal; Iraq Campaign medal w/star; Overseas Service Ribbon x2.”

“Corry passed away on August 13, 2019 at Killeen, Texas. Corry fought a brave battle against PTSD.”

Read Corry’s biography here.

Related Links:
Obituary: Corry Willis (Killeen, Texas)
SP4 Corry Willis, 31, US Army, Active Duty, of Killeen, TX
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)

Corry Willis

Spc. Corry Willis, U.S Army (photo: Dignity Memorial)

Navy Sailor Brandon Caserta Died by Suicide at Naval Station Norfolk; Family Pushing for Suicide Prevention Legislation ‘The Brandon Act’ Focusing on Hazing & Bullying (June 25, 2018)

Brandon Caserta

AEAN Brandon Caserta, U.S. Navy (photo courtesy of the Caserta family)

UPDATE: Rep. Seth Moulton Introduces The Brandon Act to Change DoD Mental Health Policy, Pay Tribute to Fallen Navy Sailor Brandon Caserta (June 25, 2020)

The Brandon Act:

I can honestly say no one is looking in this because at this point, no one cares. I just looked at the suicide rate right now in the Navy and it is now reported 43 for the year so far. I looked at it on Wednesday of last week and it was at 37. What the heck is going on and when will someone anyone going to start caring about the men and women in our Armed Forces? We need to respect the flag AND the men and women who defend it and save their lives like they do us. We all need to write to our senators and congressional staff. We need The Brandon Act passed and quickly.

I’m going to explain what “The Brandon Act” is. It is designed to be a safe word that men and women in our Armed Forces can use if they are subjects of any kind of abuse whether it’s physical, emotional or mentally. Abuse comes in many, many forms to include bullying, hazing, threats, sexual, abusive leadership, and any kind of mental and emotional abuse. These are just a few abusive tactics that can be done to someone. “The Brandon Act” protects those who come forward asking for help. It is designed for these men and women to come forward and get the help they need and if the abuse merits it, the sailor or troop will have a right to ask to be reassigned to another command or unit without any retaliation whatsoever from anyone in their current command or their next assignment. Our hope is to bring suicides to an end and by using this “Act” will hopefully allow them the courage to get help when they need it and get them healed and back on the right path. This “Act” is in front of Congress right now and hopefully very soon, they will approve and pass it once it’s completely written. Thank you for reading. #thebrandonact

-Patrick and Teri Caserta (Brandon Caserta’s parents)

Sailor’s Death at Naval Station Norfolk Ruled Suicide:

Sailor’s death at Naval Station Norfolk ruled suicide. -WAVY TV 10 (June 26, 2018)

Peoria Family Hopes for Change in Military Culture After Son Takes His Own Life:

As Teri Caserta entered her son’s bedroom in their Peoria home, she broke down. It’s an emotion that Teri and her husband Patrick Caserta will always carry with them. Their son Brandon was in the United States Navy from 2015 to 2018. However, at just 21, Brandon would take his own life. -ABC 15 Arizona (June 14, 2019)

Parents of Norfolk-Based Sailor Who Committed Suicide Want Changes:

Brandon Caserta, 21, was a sailor. He died by suicide while stationed in Norfolk. His parents hope new legislation will protect future military men and women. -13 News Now (October 4, 2019)

Updates on The Brandon Act:
The Brandon Act | Facebook Public Page
‘Everybody’s overworked’ — string of Navy suicides raises concerns over sailor stress and toxic leadership
Following son’s death, Capital Region family raises flag on suicides in Navy
Family of Sailor who committed suicide at Naval Station Norfolk pushes for change
Parents hopeful sailor son’s suicide leads to legislation

Navy AEAN Brandon Caserta was stationed with the Helicopter Combat Sea Squadron 28 (HSC-28) at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia when he died by suicide on June 25, 2018. While Brandon’s parents were on the phone with Navy leadership at the Squadron, Brandon walked out on the flight line, apologized to the plane captain (who is in-charge of the flight line), and hurled himself into a helicopter rotor, dying instantly. AEAN Caserta had a brief career with the Navy and it didn’t turn out the way he had hoped. He had failed Special Warfare Training and was transferred into a new career field as a result. And then unexpectedly Brandon broke his collar-bone in a bicycle accident, which also negatively impacted his Navy career. At the moment Brandon Caserta made his final walk out to the flight line, his father Patrick Caserta was on the phone with the command expressing concern for his son’s welfare. Patrick was making plans to fly out to Naval Station Norfolk to explore his son’s legal options.

Desperate for answers, the Casertas reached out to Brandon’s chain of command and friends but eventually everyone stopped responding. The Casertas were told by many friends in Brandon’s command that leadership ordered a cessation of communications. Before the silence, Brandon’s friends shared that they thought he appeared to be suffering from depression, feelings of worthlessness, and anger, hence the reason he left a note asking the Navy be held accountable. As a result of the information gleaned from the note and those who knew Brandon, the HSC-28 conducted an investigation of itself; basically the fox guarding the henhouse. Although they knew months in advance of the problems, the report did note that Brandon’s supervisor had a history of berating and belittling those who worked for him. As a matter of fact, this supervisor could have been court-martialed under UCMJ Article 93, Cruelty and Maltreatment, but he wasn’t. Instead, Military.com reports he received no punishment and was transferred with a “declining evaluation” (and this was only after it was heard and reported that he made “derogatory and inflammatory comments concerning the deceased”).

“I want to see as many people fired, kicked out or, at the very least, lose rank.” -Brandon Caserta, U.S. Navy

According to Military.com, the Navy’s suicide rate in 2018 was the highest it’s ever been. And it was reported that a post-mortem analyses of suicides in the military usually showed the victim “faced major issues like financial problems, relationship problems, medical issues, and mental health conditions.” The military reporter reached out to Dave Matsuda, an anthropologist at California State University-East Bay, who researched and studied a suicide cluster among soldiers in Iraq in 2010. Matsuda’s research found some non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and officers in the chain of command made their subordinates’ lives a “living hell.” Matsuda also added that although the “bad leaders weren’t fully responsible for the suicides, they helped push the soldiers over the edge.” But in a system where the Navy is investigating the Navy, we have learned that the Chain of Command isn’t going to admit there is a problem. They have a history of blaming the victim and/or scapegoating an enlisted NCO or lower ranking military officer.

Brandon’s father, Patrick Caserta, a retired U.S. Navy sailor himself, asserts the Command was “so hostile, corruptive and unethical,” that they tormented Brandon and drove him past the brink of despair. Patrick and Teri Caserta wholeheartedly believe the command murdered their son. Patrick reminded us that the military talks about trauma, exposure to war, and mental health, but they don’t talk about harassment and bullying. He believes military leadership do not want to admit harassment, bullying, and retaliation happen or admit they are at fault. In the days and weeks that followed their son’s death, Patrick and Teri also learned from those who worked with Brandon that they were all dealing with a high operational tempo and manpower shortfalls. Brandon’s co-workers believed “personal issues were not a high priority and Brandon’s death could have been prevented.” And an anonymous message sent to the squadron commander on June 18, 2018 revealed the abuse was ongoing before Brandon died.

According to the message, Brandon’s supervisor called subordinates his “bitches,” referred to the chiefs as “douchebags” and “dumbasses” behind their backs, and “treated workers worse than garbage” and “like dogs.” –Military.com (June 8, 2019)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Military.com reported that Brandon Caserta’s death was one of 68 Navy suicides in 2018. They also reported the rise in military suicides appears to mirror an increase in suicides among the general U.S. population. Suicide experts are struggling to understand why so many are dying by suicide. Some factors for suicide risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), include “spending time in prison or jail, having a mental health disorder or a substance abuse problem, experiencing family violence, a history of suicide, and having guns in the home.” Brandon’s family believes their son’s suicide was a direct result of toxic leadership, one superior who harassed and bullied Brandon, pushing him over the edge. According to Army Doctrine Publication 6-22, a toxic leader “operates with an inflated sense of self-worth and from acute self-interest,” consistently using “dysfunctional behaviors to deceive, intimidate, coerce, or unfairly punish others to get what they want for themselves.” Although it appears there are multiple variables that impact when a service member chooses to die by suicide, the experts need to find out the why so we can save our service member’s lives. What is happening in their environment that makes them feel like suicide is the only way out?

The directive states, toxic leaders exhibit a combination of “self centered attitudes, motivations, and behaviors that have adverse effects on subordinates, the organization, and mission performance.” –Military.com (June 8, 2019)

Military.com reported that one of Brandon’s co-workers helped shed some insight into the toxic climate at the Navy’s HSC-28 squadron. He accused leadership of deploying personnel in retaliation for speaking up and not doing as they are told. This particular individual requested that he remain at the squadron when his wife got sick because he needed to support her and their two girls. But his leadership was going to deploy him with a detachment anyways. So he filed an Inspector General complaint and thankfully was transferred out of the squadron in a couple weeks. He believes Navy personnel have a “fear of retribution” because the command is resentful of the service members who can’t deploy. Brandon’s family experienced a form of retaliation as well. The unit held a memorial service for Brandon four days after he died but Patrick and Teri said they were not invited by anyone in the HSC-28 command. Patrick Caserta believes the family was excluded out of sheer pettiness; leadership wanted to continue to conceal and coverup what truly happened. Regardless of the reason, it was a violation of Navy policy.

“Navy policy states that the command should provide round-trip travel and allowances to family members to attend a command memorial service.” –Military.com (June 8, 2019)

On May 31, 2019, after the command learned that Military.com had made phone calls regarding the Casertas’ allegations, Navy personnel indicated there was a “culture of fear” at the squadron. The Casertas are so angry and distraught that communications have stopped that they offered a $25,000 reward to anyone who came forward with information that “lead to successful prosecution of individuals in their son’s chain of command.” They have also met with the congressional staff of at least a dozen senators and representatives, including Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to discuss “the treatment they and Brandon received, request an independent investigation, and promote efforts to prevent suicide linked to toxic leadership.” They also would like to see the Navy implement Brandon Caserta’s request in his suicide note regarding the re-rate process: “sailors who don’t complete the training for the rate they initially sought should be able to select any other training they qualify for with their Armed Services Vocational Battery (ASVAB) test results.”

Anthropologist Dave Matsuda told Military.com that to truly address the problem of suicide in the armed forces, “all the services need to consider ‘toxic leadership’ when analyzing the deaths of each individual.” If we understand the why, we can prevent suicide. Matsuda also believes operational leaders should not rely on “the boot camp strategy of breaking people down to build them back up.” Matsuda concluded with the assertion that indeed a toxic command climate can trigger suicidal behavior. One year later, Patrick and Teri Caserta are determined to get justice for their only son, because they believe this tragedy could’ve been prevented. The pair also report that Congress is drafting “The Brandon Act,” which is “federal legislation aimed at ending military suicides, holding commanders accountable, and halting the bullying and hazing that occurs within military ranks.” Please contact both the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) members and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) members and your Senators and Representative to ask that they too support our troops by supporting The Brandon Act. Our service members deserve a chance at a beautiful life post military.

“The Brandon Act” is designed to be a safe word that men and women in our Armed Forces can use if they are subjects of any kind of abuse whether it’s physical, emotional or mentally. Abuse comes in many, many forms to include bullying, hazing, threats, sexual, abusive leadership, and any kind of mental and emotional abuse. These are just a few abusive tactics that can be done to someone. “The Brandon Act” protects those who come forward asking for help. It is designed for these men and women to come forward and get the help they need and if the abuse merits it, the sailor or troop will have a right to ask to be reassigned to another command or unit without any retaliation whatsoever from anyone in their current command or their next assignment. Our hope is to bring suicides to an end and by using this “Act” will hopefully allow them the courage to get help when they need it and get them healed and back on the right path. This “Act” is in front of Congress right now and hopefully very soon, they will approve and pass it once it’s completely written. Thank you for reading. –Justice for Brandon Caserta on Facebook (June 20, 2019) #TheBrandonAct

Sources: Patrick Caserta (Brandon’s father), Patricia Kime, Military.com, and related links

Related Links:
The Brandon Act | Facebook Public Page
Obituary: Brandon Patrick Caserta (June 25, 2018)
3rd Cowpens CO Fired Since 2010; CMC Relieved (2014)
Army Takes On Its Own Toxic Leaders (2014)
‘I now hate my ship’: Surveys reveal disastrous morale on cruiser Shiloh (2017)
Navy: Failures of Leaders, Watchstanders Led to Deadly Ship Collisions (2017)
Former MCPON Bawled Out Staff, Made Sailors Fetch Coffee: Investigation
His Suicide Note Was a Message to the Navy. The Way He Died Was the Exclamation Point
When Driven to Suicide, at a Minimum it is Manslaughter! – The Navy’s Incessant Harassment of Brandon Caserta Ultimately Drove Him to Suicide – People Were Promoted, Instead of Held Accountable
Suicides Are Still On The Rise In The Military — Is That Really a Surprise? Spoiler: The Answer Is ‘No.’
Peoria family hopes for change in military culture after son takes his own life
Family hopes for change in military culture after son takes his own life
Family hopes for change in military culture after son takes his own life
Peoria family hopes for change in military culture after son takes his own life (YouTube)
An Open Letter to Air Force Commanders about Suicide
‘Everybody’s overworked’ — string of Navy suicides raises concerns over sailor stress and toxic leadership
Following son’s death, Capital Region family raises flag on suicides in Navy
Family of Sailor who committed suicide at Naval Station Norfolk pushes for change
Parents hopeful sailor son’s suicide leads to legislation
Parents of Norfolk-based sailor who committed suicide want changes
Sailor’s death at Naval Station Norfolk ruled suicide
Peoria family hopes for change in military culture after son takes his own life
Parents of Norfolk-based sailor who committed suicide want changes
Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Army Spc. Kamisha Block in Iraq After She Ended a Forbidden Relationship, Then Ended His Own Life (August 16, 2007)
Camp Lejeune Marine Maria Lauterbach & Unborn Child Murdered, Remains Discovered in Fellow Marine’s Backyard; Cesar Laurean Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (December 15, 2007)
Military Rape Survivor Army Sgt. Amanda Sheldon Died by Suicide After Suffering With Depression; Family Hopes Her Death May Spark Change (October 7, 2010)
Lauterbach Case Prompts Policy Reforms for Victims of Crime in the Military (December 25, 2011)
Army Directive 2011-19: Expedited Transfer or Reassignment Procedures for Victims of Sexual Assault (3 Oct 11)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (2016)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (2017)
Are More Male’s Victims of Violent Crime in the United States Than Females? (2017)
September: U.S. Department of Defense Casualties Report from September 11, 2001 to Present (2017)
Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces, Transfer Policies Panel (2017)
48 Hours NCIS Premiered ‘Trail of Fire’ on CBS: Holley Wimunc, Domestic Violence, and the Holley Lynn James Act (June 26, 2018)
ProPublica: ‘Death and Valor on an American Warship Doomed by Its Own Navy’ (February 6, 2019)
Senate Armed Services Committee Members & House Armed Services Committee Members (June 21, 2019)
The Brandon Act | Justice for Brandon Caserta
Justice for Brandon Caserta | Facebook
Navy Failed Their Son | ABC 15 Arizona

Army Pvt. Nicole Burnham Found Unresponsive in Fort Carson Barracks; Death Ruled Suicide After Sexual Assault, Retaliation & a Three Month Expedited Transfer Delay (January 26, 2018)

Nicole Burnham Army

Pvt. Nicole Burnham, U.S. Army

Army Pvt. Nicole Burnham reported a sexual assault at Camp Casey in Korea on September 15, 2017. Four days later, she requested an expedited victim’s transfer (EVT) asking for reassignment back to the United States. Nicole’s Commander approved the request a few days later but it would be 82 days before the transfer occurred. In the meantime, Nicole Burnham shared the same barracks with her attacker. And there was no evidence to suggest the Army even addressed the fact that Nicole shared the same barracks as her attacker until an incident occurred three weeks later when he allegedly jumped out in front of her in an attempt to scare her. It was at this time, the Commander separated the two and put them in different barracks. In the weeks that followed, Nicole suffered verbal harassment and cyberbullying from within the ranks. She received comments from soldiers and their wives over social media calling her a “slut” and “deserving of rape.” Investigators claimed Nicole did not report the harassment to the Chain of Command but in a sworn statement a fellow soldier said most of the leadership was aware of the harassment yet turned a blind eye.

Nicole Burnham 5

Nicole Burnham Justification for Expedited Transfer (photo: KSTP-TV)

In October 2017, a tearful Nicole told her supervisor she couldn’t “take it” anymore and the supervisor believed she was eluding to suicidal ideation. She was referred to the Officer in Charge (OIC) who then handed her off to the Chaplain for counseling. But according to the A.R. 15-6 investigation, it doesn’t appear leadership in the Chain of Command was aware of what the supervisor believed was suicidal ideation. Nicole reported a sexual assault on September 15, 2017 and experienced three months of retaliation before Army leadership finally transferred her on December 12, 2017. In addition, KSTP reports Army leadership at Camp Casey failed to inform Fort Carson that Nicole was a victim of sexual assault (and harassment, bullying, & cyberbullying). Nicole should have been offered mental health care and compassion. Don Christiansen of Protect Our Defenders said in a statement that the Chain of Command was without a doubt responsible for the failures in Nicole’s case that ultimately lead to her ending her life. Nicole’s death triggered two investigations, one into the allegation of sexual assault that allegedly included Nicole being attacked by multiple men at Camp Casey and the other into the cyberbullying. Of course, the Army declined to comment until the investigation was completed. According to the family, Nicole’s main attacker was courtmartialed and agreed to a plea deal that forced him to leave the Army with a less than honorable discharge. The outcome of the cyberbullying investigation of military personnel and military spouses is unknown.

“It’s inconceivable that they let her languish in Korea. After all these failures, we had this tragic ending to her life.” -Don Christiansen, Protect Our Defenders (January 13, 2020)

Editor’s Note: The military wives who lived on a federal base overseas do not fall under the jurisdiction of the military Chain of Command. Civilians living on base fall under the federal jurisdiction of the FBI who at this point are reluctant to investigate anything but murder. The federal government uses a crisis oriented approach with military personnel and crimes on military bases as opposed to a homicide prevention approach. And in the case of reservations, there has been no justice for missing and murdered Native Americans. 

Nicole Burnham KSTP-TV Timeline

AR 15-6 Timeline of Events for Nicole Burnham (Source: KSTP-TV)

As a result of Nicole’s tragic and untimely death and the KSTP-TV investigation, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota pushed the Army to take action and make changes to the expedited victims transfer policy. The pair asked the Army to track the time it takes to transfer victims of sex assault to another military base, citing the ‘unfortunate delays’ in the transfer of Pvt. Nicole Burnham. In response, the Secretary of the Army directed staff to update policies regarding the treatment of victims of sexual assault who request an off-base transfer. He asked that the Army update policies to mirror the timelines in the Department of Defense (DoD) policy. According to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, DoD policy states an EVT should occur within 30 days and Esper said the Army’s policies will now reflect that timeline. Nicole’s mother, Stacey Burnham, said 30 days is too long. She also said, “I cannot imagine being a victim, having your EVT approved but knowing you may still be there for another 30 days.” Stacey Burnham has called for more significant changes in the wake of her daughter’s death suggesting the timeline should be condensed even further. She runs a public Facebook page called Pooters Peeps in honor of her daughter.

Amy Klobuchar Letter

Letter from Amy Klobuchar & Tom Emmer to the Secretary of the Army (photo: KSTP-TV)

Sources: KSTP-TV, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Stacey Burnham

In the News:

A 21-year-old Fort Carson soldier who died after being found unresponsive on post last Friday was honored with a dignified transfer. -KOAA 5 (February 2, 2018)

Failing Nicole Burnham Tweet

Retweet on Twitter in honor of Pvt. Nicole Burnham.

Photos of Nicole Burnham:

Nicole Burnham 3

Nicole Burnham (photo: Pooters Peeps)

Nicole Burnham 2

Pvt. Nicole Burnham, U.S. Army (Image: Alex Wentz)

Pooters Peeps (Facebook):

Related Links:
Obituary: Nicole A Burnham of Andover, Minnesota | 1996 – 2018
Failing Private Burnham: How the Army Did Not Protect a Minnesota Soldier after a Sexual Assault
Dignified transfer performed for Fort Carson soldier who died on post
Soldier commits suicide after Army wives bullied her, told her she should die
Report: Soldier Kills Herself After Sexual Assault, Harassment, Cyberbullying
Failing Private Burnham | KSTP-TV | Facebook
5 Investigates “Making a Difference” | Midwestern Emmys
Veterans suicide prevention walk remembers Nicole Burnham
Letter to Secretary of Army from Amy Klobuchar & Tom Emmer
Klobuchar, Emmer look into Minnesota soldier’s sexual assault, suicide
Klobuchar, Emmer Push Army to Take Action after Minnesota Soldier’s Sexual Assault, Suicide
Army Secretary orders changes to policy after Minnesota soldier’s sexual assault, suicide
Army Secretary orders changes to policy after Minnesota soldier’s sexual assault, suicide
Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services Articles of Interest
The Murder of Pvt. Nicole Burnham – When Driven to Suicide, It’s Murder – Failure to Act Prudently Makes the United States Army an Accessory to Her Murder
HOR Oversight Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs Held a Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military (July 31, 2008)
Lauterbach Case Prompts Policy Reforms for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military (December 25, 2011)
Rep. Mike Turner Says New Military Legislation Closes a Loophole & Includes Domestic Violence Victims in the Expedited Transfer Policy Law (May 1, 2018)
Pooters Peeps on Facebook (A Public Page Dedicated to Nicole Burnham)

History: Oscar-Winning Actor Robin Williams Dies at 63 (August 11, 2014)

Robin Williams Good Will Hunting

Robin Williams, the prolific Oscar-winning actor and comedian, died by suicide on August 11, 2014. He was 63. Read more from History here.

“From entertaining thousands of service men and women in war zones, to his philanthropy that helped veterans struggling with hidden wounds of war, he was a loyal and compassionate advocate for all who serve this nation in uniform,” [Chuck] Hagel said in a released statement. “He will be dearly missed by the men and women of DOD, so many of whom were personally touched by his humor and generosity.” -Stars and Stripes

DoD Press Release Robin Williams

Department of Defense Press Release for Robin Williams found here.

Obama White House

Statement by the President on the Passing of Robin Williams found here.

Good Will Hunting:

Will (Matt Damon) wants to know what’s in his file, while Sean (Robin Williams) assures him that the abuse he suffered wasn’t his fault. -Miramax

“The most brilliant mind at America’s top university isn’t a student, he’s the kid who cleans the floors. Will Hunting is a headstrong, working-class genius who is failing the lessons of life. After one too many run-ins with the law, Will’s last chance is a psychology professor, who might be the only man who can reach him. Finally forced to deal with his past, Will discovers that the only one holding him back is himself.” –Miramax Official Site

Mira Sorvino presents Robin Williams with the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Good Will Hunting at the 70th Academy Awards. -Oscars

Related Links:
Robin Williams, 1951-2014 | VVA
Good Will Hunting | ‘It’s Not Your Fault’ (Trailer)
Robin Williams Wins Supporting Actor: 1998 Oscars
Journalist recalls travels with Robin Williams
New HBO Documentary Profiles USO Favorite Robin Williams
Robin Williams touched troops with honesty, generosity
Robin Williams fondly remembered by military service members
Robin Williams was a staple of USO tours overseas and in U.S.
Military community pays tribute to ‘true friend’ Robin Williams
Looking back on the USO tour legacy of Robin Williams
The Military Absolutely Loved Robin Williams
Statement by SecDef Chuck Hagel on the Passing of Robin Williams
Good Will Hunting | Miramax | YouTube
Good Will Hunting | Miramax | HBO Max
Good Will Hunting | Miramax | Showtime
Good Will Hunting | Miramax | Amazon Prime
Good Will Hunting – Official Site – Miramax

Air Force Major Melissa Birtzer Found Dead at Eglin Air Force Base Range in Florida; No Foul Play Suspected (November 20, 2012)

Melissa Birtzer

Major Melissa Birtzer, U.S. Air Force

Air Force Major Melissa Birtzer, 42, went missing from the Fort Walton Beach area in Florida on November 17, 2012. A few days later on Nov 20th, Major Birtzer was found dead at the Eglin Air Force Base range. The Air Force reported that the case was under investigation and then updated the public with the announcement that there was no foul play suspected. The official cause of death is unknown but was not ruled a homicide. Co-workers shared she may have been ‘depressed’ prior to her disappearance. Major Birtzer served honorably for 18 years first as an enlisted Intelligence Specialist and then as a Nurse. She also completed two tours in Afghanistan. Melissa is survived by a spouse and two children.

Related Links:
Melissa Birtzer Obituary
Tribute for Melissa Ann Birtzer
Missing Hurlburt Major Found Dead
Body of missing woman found; no foul play suspected
Melissa Ann Birtzer Discovered Three Days After Disappearance from Fort Walton Beach Home

Army Sgt. Amanda Sheldon’s Mom Speaks Out on Suicide; Family Hopes to Inspire Military-Wide Change (October 14, 2010)

The family of Sgt. Amanda Sheldon hopes her death may spark change. The 2004 Belding graduate’s body will return to West Michigan on Thursday night, about one week after Sheldon took her own life while serving at a Fort Bragg, N.C., military base. -WOOD TV8 (October 14, 2010)

“Just like any other soldier, whether she died in combat or some other way, she’s still a fallen soldier. She served her country and she served it well.” -Renee Orcatt (Amanda Sheldon’s mom)

Army Sgt. Amanda Sheldon, 24, took her own life while stationed with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Sgt. Sheldon was found unresponsive at her off-post home in Fayetteville and was pronounced dead at the local hospital on October 7, 2010. Sgt. Sheldon was attached to the 18th Fires Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. She joined the Army in October 2005 and was assigned to Fort Bragg in February 2010. The family of Sgt. Amanda Sheldon hopes the circumstances surrounding her untimely death will spark military-wide change. In 2010, the Department of Defense was concerned about the increase in active duty suicides and since then the numbers have only increased. CNN reported the suicide rates among active-duty Marines and the Navy are at a 10-year high on January 28, 2019. Task and Purpose reported Army suicides reached a five-year high on January 31, 2019. Military.com reported Active-Duty military suicides are at Record Highs in 2018.

Related Links:
Sgt Amanda Ann “Mandy” Sheldon | Find a Grave
Grand Rapids soldier Sgt. Amanda Sheldon, 24, dies in N.C. hospital
Female soldier dies at Fayetteville hospital
Police, family say Belding area soldier took her own life
Soldier’s mom speaks out on suicide (YouTube)
Ada family of soldier who died off-base in North Carolina says death was not suspicious
The family of Sgt. Amanda Sheldon hopes her death may spark change
Army Sgt. Amanda Sheldon’s Mom Speaks Out on Suicide; Family Hopes to Inspire Military-Wide Change (October 14, 2010)
The Challenge and the Promise: Strengthening the Force, Preventing Suicide and Saving Lives (2011)
Air Force TSgt. Jennifer Norris Testified Before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington DC (January 23, 2013)
Retired Marine Stephanie Schroeder Fights for Servicemember’s Rights at the United Nation’s Geneva Conventions (November 11, 2014)
Ali and Josh Hobson: Sexual Assault and Retaliation in the US Air Force (2015)
62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation (2015)
Highlights of Lt Col Teresa James, Army National Guard, Military Sexual Assault and Retaliation Case (2015)
Heath Phillips, Active Duty Military & Veterans Advocate, a Voice for Male Victims of Crime (2016)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (2016)
What Happens When a Rape is Reported in the Military? (2017)
How do we stop the retaliation from happening so victims of crimes in the military feel safe to report? (2017)
Dignified transfer performed for Fort Carson soldier who died on post (2018)
Failing Private Burnham: How the Army Did Not Protect a Minnesota Soldier after a Sexual Assault (2018)
Tribute to a Fallen Soldier | Amanda Sheldon
In Loving Memory of Amanda Ann Sheldon | Facebook

The Wounded Platoon: A Powerful Portrait of What Multiple Tours & Post-Traumatic Stress are Doing to a Generation of Young American Soldiers (May 18, 2010)

The Wounded Platoon

Click here to watch The Wounded Platoon on PBS.

“Since the Iraq War began, soldier arrests in the city of Colorado Springs have tripled. FRONTLINE tells the dark tale of the men of 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st battalion of the 506th infantry, and how the war followed them home. It is a story of heroism, grief, vicious combat, depression, drugs, alcohol and brutal murder; an investigation into the Army’s mental health services; and a powerful portrait of what multiple tours and post-traumatic stress are doing to a generation of young American soldiers. [Explore more stories on the original website for The Wounded Platoon.]” -PBS (May 18, 2010)