“The Death Dealers took my life!”

Salon.com has a series running all this week called “Coming Home”, researched and written by Mark Benjamin and Michael de Yoanna.

The following is the description and lead in information on the series:

“Coming Home” is a week long investigative series on preventable deaths at Fort Carson, a U.S. Army post in Colorado, among troops who have returned from combat tours in Iraq.

Salon national correspondent Mark Benjamin and Colorado-based journalist Michael de Yoanna reviewed more than two dozen incidents of suicide, suicide attempts, prescription drug overdoses and murder involving Fort Carson troops and examined 10 of those cases painstakingly. They interviewed troops, their families and survivors of suicide attempts, studied thousands of pages of medical and Army records and conducted a prison interview with a soldier convicted of being an accessory to the murder of one of his comrades. They learned that much of the violence could have been avoided if the Army did a better job of recognizing and treating the symptoms of PTSD.

A friend sent me the first in the series, which was posted yesterday, 2.09.09, called “The Death Dealers took my life!”

Army Pvt. Adam Lieberman attempted suicide on October 30, 2008, leaving a suicide note scrawled on the wall of his Fort Carson, Colorado barracks.

Adam Lieberman tried to kill himself when he returned from Iraq. Only then did the Army take his mental health seriously.

This is the first story in a week long series called “Coming Home.” Read an introduction to the series here; see photos of Heidi Lieberman painting over her son’s suicide note, and a copy of the “Hurt Feelings Report,” here.

The first page of this report starts out thus:

Feb. 9, 2009 | FORT CARSON, Colo. — The day before Halloween 2008, Army Pvt. Adam Lieberman swallowed handfuls of prescription pain pills and psychotropic drugs. Then he picked up a can of black paint and smeared onto the wall of his room in the Fort Carson barracks what he thought would be his last words to the world.

“I FACED THE ENEMY AND LIVED!” Lieberman painted on the wall in big, black letters. “IT WAS THE DEATH DEALERS THAT TOOK MY LIFE!”

With more following, about his unit, what happened, his mother and commander, leading into the second page, I am a queer; I am a little bitch; I am a cry baby; I want my mommy; All of the above. Leading to the third and final page of installment number one,  “I wanted to rip her jaw off and scrape the skin off her face with her Goddamn teeth”

The second in the series comes on 2.10.09 is called “Kill yourself. Save us the paperwork”:

Pfc. Ryan Alderman in Iraq in an undated photo.

Pfc. Ryan Alderman, now deceased, sought medical help from the Army. He got a fistful of powerful drugs instead.

This is part of the second installment in a week long series called “Coming Home.” Read Ryan Alderman’s sworn statement, written a week before his death, here, and a description of three other suicides of Fort Carson-based soldiers here. See the introduction to the series here.

The second, in this series, starts out with the following:

Feb. 10, 2009 | FORT CARSON, Colo. — It was unseasonably warm for November in Colorado as Heidi Lieberman approached the door of the Soldiers’ Memorial Chapel at Fort Carson. She walked past a few of the large evergreens that dot the chapel grounds and then entered the blockish, modern beige and brown chapel topped with a sharp, rocketlike steeple.

Inside, the chapel was hushed. Camouflage-clad, crew-cut young men packed the pews. Up in front, an empty Army helmet hung on the butt of an upright M16. A pair of brown combat boots sat below, as if they had been tucked under a bunk. A soldier handed Heidi a program for a memorial service. On the front was the image of a soldier, kneeling in prayer below an American flag and illuminated by a beacon of light from above. The inscription just below the kneeling soldier read, “Lord, grant me the strength …”

It had been five days since Heidi’s son Adam, 21, a soldier at Fort Carson, swallowed handfuls of prescription sleeping pills and psychotropic drugs in the barracks, trying to die. With a can of black paint, Adam brushed a suicide note on the wall of his room. The Army, Adam wrote, “took my life.”

Adam had lived. Pfc. Timothy Ryan Alderman wasn’t so lucky. Alderman had been found dead of a similar drug overdose in his room in the barracks at Fort Carson in the early-morning hours of Oct. 20, 10 days before Adam Lieberman made his suicide attempt.

Heidi, who was at Fort Carson to deal with the aftermath of her own son’s suicide attempt, had decided to attend Alderman’s funeral although neither she nor her son had known him. She sank into a pew and tried to reconcile two warring thoughts.

The first page leads into the second, givin this title at the bottom link to: “It looked like a slaughterhouse operation to me”, which than leads to the third, “That’s shitty. That breaks all the rules. He was overmedicated”

Please go over and read these two reports, than follow this extremely important series. I’ll be updating this post as each days report is posted.

With the long running occupations continuing, and as the multiple tours start weighing on some of these soldiers, add on the economic problems of the country, their families sacrificing and trying to carry on a normal existence while waiting, over and over, and we’re just witnessing the beginning of what may be coming!

Just as those of us who served in another long running occupation, without having to serve more than one tour, watched as our own brothers and sisters returned, never leaving behind what they had experienced nor completely returning home!