Three soldiers at a U.S. Army base in upstate New York are suspected of dying by suicide during a 72-hour span earlier this month, including one who was among the last to return home from Afghanistan.
All were members of the 10th Mountain Division, which is based at Fort Drum, the division said in a statement. All three deaths are under investigation.
“Immediately when we have a situation when a Soldier is suspected of taking their own life, we want to know the trigger,” Maj. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr., the 10th Mountain Division commander, said in an email to Army Times.
The dead soldiers were identified by the Army Times as Staff Sgt. Angel Green, 24; Pfc. Tyler Thomas, 21; and Spc. Sika Tapueluelu, 26. The deaths of the soldiers, who were assigned to different units on the base, were announced Sept. 19 by the base public affairs team.
“In trying times like these, it is incumbent upon us all to reach out to your battle buddy,” Beagle said in a statement released with the announcement. “Make sure they are OK.”
Green, an infantryman from Barstow, California, served in Afghanistan twice and had just returned from the country on Sept. 6 during the hasty U.S. withdrawal following the Taliban takeover.
Thomas was from Cedar Hill, Texas, and Tapueluelu was from Tukwila, Washington.
Their deaths came as the U.S. Army was in the midst of launching a series of new programs to coincide with National Suicide Prevention Month that were aimed squarely at helping soldiers in distress.
While more than 7,000 members of the U.S. military were killed fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, the number of veterans and active service members who died by suicide is estimated to be four times higher, according to the Costs of War project from Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.