Army Wife’s Campaign Highlights Combat Stresses
by Jon R. Anderson
Military Times, June 30, 2012
Ashley Wise was about to do something foolish.
Instead, she stripped off her shirt, grabbed her husband’s AR15 assault rifle and a bottle of eyeliner and asked her friend for some help.
Wise had just told her neighbor and fellow Army wife she was seriously considering streaking in front of the 101st Airborne Division’s command building at Fort Campbell, Ky.
“I wanted to do something — anything — that would get their attention,” she says.
Her husband, Robert, a former Marine turned Army infantry staff sergeant, was struggling through the fog after war that had left him cold and clouded ever since returning from his second tour in Iraq in 2010. A string of recent suicides among friends and battle buddies had only made things worse.
Military counselors had told him he was just having trouble “reintegrating” from the war. Nothing to worry about, he was told.
But Ashley knew better. The fights were getting bad. The kids were getting scared. One night he retreated to a hotel room, but not before grabbing his guns and some booze. When she called him later that night, she says she was horrified to hear him say he “might do something stupid.”
Broken by Battle
Wounded by War
My Love is Forever
To you this I swore
I Will Quiet your silent screams
Help Heal your shattered soul
Until once again
You are whole
— The Battling Bare Promise
The next day, an Army family advocacy counselor encouraged her to open up, and told her she was in a safe place. Yes, things had gotten physical a few times. “It was never serious, just stupid stuff; never a black eye or a broken bone.” Most recently, he had grabbed her by the arms and moved her aside in the middle of a disagreement.
The next thing she knew, her husband was being charged with domestic abuse, and faced a dishonorable discharge from the Army.
“I was shocked. That was never my intent.” She was told it didn’t matter. She asked Fort Campbell’s top enlisted adviser to intervene.
She was told it was out his hands.
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Filed under: Resources Tagged: | Afghanistan, Army Wives, Ashley Wise, Battling Bare, Combat, Family Advocacy Program, Fort Campbell, Iraq, Mental Health, Military Suicide, PTSD, Stigma, Suicide prevention