At Fort Bragg, Help Never Came
Soldiers suffering psych injuries continue to ‘fall through the cracks’ despite multi-million dollar programs and numerous studies
by JOHN RAMSEY
The Fayetteville Observer, Aug 1, 2011
Three months before her husband shot himself in the family’s garage, Nicole Simmons said, she met with a chaplain and her husband’s commanders at Fort Bragg.
Help me, and help my husband, Simmons said she told Lt. Col. Marcus Evans and Command Sgt. Maj. Herbert Kirkover.
Her husband, Sgt. Adrian Simmons, had changed, she said she told them.
Simmons, who is pregnant with their second child, thought he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He couldn’t control his temper, and his memory was terrible, she said.
“I said, ‘Something is wrong with my husband. He is saying he wants to blow his brains out. He is getting so short-tempered, so short-fused, anything will make him blow,’ ” Simmons said she told the commanders. “I said, ‘I think he needs a psychological evaluation.'”
Soon after that meeting, the 24-year-old Simmons said, a soldier came to the family’s Hoke County home to confiscate her husband’s personal guns. Hoke County Child Protective Services visited and determined that the couple’s 2-year-old son was safe as long as the guns remained out of the house.
But the Army never sent her husband to a counselor, Simmons said.
Now she’s fighting for answers. So far, she said, she’s not getting any. Simmons said that after her husband died July 5, soldiers told her the Army was opening an investigation into what happened. But she wasn’t contacted for an interview until Wednesday, hours after the Observer sent an email to the 82nd Airborne Division asking why no one had talked with her.
“How can they be doing an investigation if nobody has been to the most important person who went to the command?” Simmons asked. “I want to know why, when I went to command, no one admitted my husband for an evaluation.”
The 82nd Airborne Division didn’t respond to questions about Simmons’ allegations or requests to talk to her husband’s chain of command. It has a policy of not discussing ongoing investigations.
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Filed under: Resources Tagged: | 82nd Airborne Division, ACE card, Armed Forces, Army, Col. Chad McRee, Combat, Family Advocacy Program, Fort Bragg, Infantry, Iraq, Lt. Col. Marcus Evans, Military, Military Suicide, National Institute of Mental Health, Nicole Simmons, NIMH, PTSD, Sgt. Adrian Simmons, Sgt. Maj. Herbert Kirkover, Stigma, Suicide, Suicide prevention, Veterans, War