Force Recon Marine Who Chased Down Combat Action as Contractor Bodyguard, Succumbs to Suicide in Texas

Hidden War Zone Scars Claim Another Life

by Doug Robinson
Deseret News, June 5, 2012

Former Marine Dale McIntosh, served with 2nd Force Recon unit before leaving the military to work as a private contractor bodyguard in Iraq and Afghanistan, took his own life in Texas in February 2012. In above photo, Dale stands with children in Central America.

Dale McIntosh was no stranger to death.

When it wasn’t everywhere around him, it was a constant threat, something that kept him literally looking over his shoulder for months at a time.

A former Marine, he hired himself out as a privately contracted bodyguard in the Middle East, where he lived on the edge and saw and did things so terrible that it haunted him. He survived firefights, ambushes, exploding cars, road mines, snipers and rocket-propelled grenades.

In the end, he escaped without any wounds, or at least none we could see.

When he returned, he seemed to be the Dale that his friends remembered — charming, gregarious, warm, outgoing — but inside, he was hurting and disturbed. McIntosh brought demons home with him.

In 2006, I wrote a lengthy profile about McIntosh, then a student at Westminster who took time off from his studies to pursue quick money and an adrenaline fix in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is the postscript: McIntosh took his own life in February in Harlingen, Texas. He was 35.

“It’s still hard for me to talk about,” says Dale’s older brother Robert. “Another veteran falls through the cracks.”

It happens to a lot of soldiers. Young guys go over there and do things they were taught were wrong their whole lives and then they come back and it’s very difficult. We are a civilian society; most people haven’t done this, so there is no understanding of what they’ve been through, no support network. It’s like these cute little pit bulls they put in a ring to fight and maim and then they expect them to interact with kids. It doesn’t work — Robert McIntosh, Dale’s older brother

Robert, who is an anesthesiologist and former Army officer who served in Iraq, says his brother suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

It’s another cautionary tale about the damage of war and violence, the kind of damage that is more difficult to see and repair than a bullet hole.

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One Response

  1. Dale was an amazing man and is missed often. My mom and I used to workout with him and hangout when he was in town.

    Robert, thank you for being such a good example to him. He spoke of you often. I still remember the time I was going to ride up to his father’s funeral with him but didn’t. I wished I would have….

    I was so afraid to date him because he would just keep leaving and that scared me.

    I will always remember his tender smile and friendly eyes. He was a good man!!

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