JBLM medic's suicide shows brutal combat tour never ended for some - TheNewsTribune.com

Troy Tom, Pfc. 25, 2009: Capt. Patrick Williamson

Aug. They Will said they'd continue the real date 3 many years later.

He left your ex inside seven a number of months regarding returning from your war, shifting to an apartment throughout Steilacoom because, he said, "I do not necessarily want my kids to determine me the strategies by which I am. James Roger Kirker didn't thoughts the boom of a ceremonial cannon in a Joint Base Lewis-McChord Memorial Day celebration 5 years ago. He didn't want to maintain her awake.. From your time, each had been married yet anticipating separations via their own spouses. 1st Class Luis Gonzalez, Sgt. Inside November, his garage had been neat, when I noticed that, I thought he turned the corner; he's coming back."

On that visit to his son's Yelm home in November 2014, the younger Kirker looked relaxed in the approach he hadn't in years. 27, 2009: Sgt. The Particular Army officially decided he incurred it during his work as being a civilian paramedic before he joined the Army in 2006.

Even Cindy, who mourned anyone the girl husband had become following the war, believed Kirker had been acquiring better. Bergren stated the lady wrestled your gun from him.

It has been signed inside November 2014 by former Madigan Commander Col. John Hallett III, Capt. The Lady walked to the garage, where your woman located a suicide note and his awesome body, hanging.


News of Kirker's death early March 23 rocked your soldiers whom served along with him in Afghanistan. Pertaining To more information, visit www.thesoldiersproject.org or perhaps contact in (877) 576-5343.

As your several weeks wore on, Kirker joined the actual battalion within fighting alongside Marines throughout Helmand province. 18, 2009: Sgt. His Or Her names as well as the dates they were killed:

A health-related statement attached towards the evaluation shows Kirker has been having nightmares and also avoiding individuals who reminded him regarding Afghanistan.

Sept. call to have got an appointment at (800) 404-4506.

Oct. Sawyer ended up being the particular battalion senior enlisted medic; Kirker was among his guys.

On tomorrow within Afghanistan, any buried bomb killed Capt. Dale Griffin, Sgt. John Hallett, Capt. The idea sounded as if he planned for you to go.

He seemed troubled nearly as quickly he returned from your war, avoiding family and friends whom reminded him associated with Afghanistan.

But at the actual rear of the scenes, Kirker held battling using the Army over his pending discharge along with treatment at Madigan.

The medical document also included any characterization associated with Kirker's PTSD which would have lasting consequences after his burglary arrest within 2014.

He wrote to become able to This News Tribune throughout February, charging which his surgical infection ended up being being "swept below the particular carpet." Madigan officials wouldn't make certain he understands regardless regarding whether it was investigating what caused his necrotizing fasciitis.

His arrest that day emerge motion an Army disciplinary process that will finish within his expulsion from the military.

Their relationship developed much faster compared for you to they intended.

""He quite definitely held things within his heart, and he wasn't in a new position to let go," your woman said.


The last occasion he noticed his son alive, James Kirker Sr. Ramona Fiorey in order to discipline Kirker for the April burglary arrest and then for his failure to exhibit approximately perform several days throughout early 2014.

Back home, Cindy discovered about the attack from the phone message your ex husband left. 25, 2009.

Nov. "That sounded precisely as an IED blast," Kirker later informed his ex-wife. Jonathan Welch

Sawyer, restless in order to go on a new mission, took Kirker's spot.

Sgt. The idea can end up being reached from (253) 565-7038.

It concluded that his PTSD predated his military service. produced another trip back again for the Northwest for his son's funeral in Tumwater. "We just stood a brutal deployment."

It cited incidents from his combat deployment since the reason behind his anguish -- his guilt pertaining to missing your mission which killed Sawyer, his near coverage for you to multiple explosions, and also the shootout exactly where he killed the particular Afghan boy.

The initial arrived April, when Thurston County sheriff's deputies found him carrying a new neighbor's pistol just following a woman had reported the burglary. It's not obvious regardless regarding whether he truly could have lost his advantages and also been subjected to the punitive discharge.

His death ripped open your scars once more.

"Those guys were damage bad," he said. "The worst factor the medic can easily hear after that is dead silence."

Soldiers Project Northwest is truly a team regarding mental health treatment professionals inside the Puget Audio region who volunteer time to suit your own needs to meet with troops and veterans. Pertaining To much more information, go to www.dva.wa.gov/benefits/counseling.

It drove a wedge in between Kirker and the family. "Some of the items they must handle -- they've created great choices -- however the baggage these people bring back is unbelievable."

Tacoma Vet Middle can become a VA plan that puts counselors outside in communities. He expended weeks at Madigan recovering and emerged with worse pain than the original injury that brought him to the operating room.

His father, James Kirker Sr., any veteran of a couple of combat tours within Vietnam, took his son aside for any frank discuss war.

On the evening just before he killed himself, he visited Bergren inside their bedroom however shared with her he had been sensation restless. Gary Gooch

He couldn't walk upstairs comfortably or do much in the yardwork in which sometimes eased his mind, he wrote four weeks ago inside a listing of ailments that the News Tribune reviewed.

The medical records his fiancee showed the News Tribune in addition indicate that doctors acknowledged his PTSD ended up exacerbated through his military service. 1st Class Ronald Sawyer, Pfc. That They noted which he has been turning into combative with leadership, which includes arguments using a command sergeant major in public.

The medic who joined the particular Army with grow older 34 since he ended up being quoted saying he wanted "to just take care of soldiers" killed himself this year, inside March. Anthony Paci

Kirker killed himself whilst coping together with grinding pain from the surgical infection he developed with Madigan Army Health-related Center. 5, 2009: Spc. An Individual wouldn't like to complete this."

The Kirkers as well as Sawyers had grown near ahead associated with the deployment. His Or Her daughter had reached out in order to him more than the winter to always be able to invite him to become able to the woman's senior higher school graduation. Kirker didn't admit in order to breaking into the home when deputies detained him within the woods nearby, yet he advised officers he "wanted to finish the ideas inside his head," based on police records. He regretted not necessarily risking their own existence inside the shootout to always be able to pull the boy in order to safety.

Kirker, Cindy and their a couple of kids gone to reside in Fort Lewis your the coming year to grow for you to be outlined on a new Army Stryker brigade building up to find a deployment to always be able to war.


The invisible wounds that might plague Kirker for any lengthy time began using a mission he missed on Aug. Dennis Williams.

Twenty-two soldiers via Joint Base Lewis-McChord's 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment were killed in Afghanistan in the actual course of their own 2009-10 deployment. Tyler Walshe, Spc. Pertaining To the first amount associated with time in his life, he quickly started missing events with his kids. They Will labored on an old vehicle together. 26, 2009: Spc. Brian McLeod reportedly answered the door using a shotgun in hand following a struggle with a buddy from your 1-17 prompted neighbors in order to contact police.

"He has been often an extremely neat along with organized person," Kirker Sr. Via Bergren's standpoint, Cindy and the kids had pushed the actual soldier away from them.

"I'm nonetheless holding my breath wondering who will probably be next," Francheska Brinkley, a new spouse of the 1-17 veteran, wrote upon Facebook as news regarding Kirker's death spread. That They shared memories regarding Doc Kirker operating to help keep them alive.

The first to die following the war ended up being Cpl. He felt disregarded by simply his leaders, too, because he believed these folks were certainly not giving him productive perform that might assist him recover.

Aug. "And he just finally mentally, emotionally and actually had muscle failure."


This wasn't the near future Kirker imagined for himself and the family when he left his profession like a civilian paramedic within Ohio to join the particular Army throughout 2006 at the height in the Iraq War.

"It's scary because a new great deal of guys are depressed," stated Derek MacDougall, 26, a 1-17 veteran which founded the social media support group to aid buddies reconnect. He advised Cindy and also later Bergren which he shot an innocent boy throughout a shootout along with insurgents.

The 2nd incident occurred final summer, when he contracted any flesh-eating bacteria within a hip surgery at Madigan Army Healthcare Center.

His suicide has been the latest tragedy to befall a bunch of veterans as well as Army people that have shared way too many deaths given that will they met in JBLM in the buildup to some fateful tour inside Afghanistan.

"I chose coming home to anyone personally as opposed to saving which kid," he informed Cindy.


Three years following Kirker came residence from Afghanistan, Army leaders wanted him out of the military.

In March 2014, yet another veteran of the deployment was shot to death by police within his University Or College place apartment. 21, 2009: Spc.

"I feel that some involving the blame lies with my command," he wrote.

In many ways, he in no way would.

Oct. Jordan Brochu, Spc. He made it happen using a disciplinary discharge looming more than his Army career.

In the actual 5 years since the actual 1-17 came home, a new disturbing operate involving at least eight stateside deaths offers rattled its veterans and also reminded them that the deployment hasn't ended its them.

Kirker had attemptedto fight his discharge, creating to a officer in which his post-war health-related struggles and strain coming from his divorce which year had left him sensation worthless. 1st Class Ron Sawyer and Spc. "When I ended up being there throughout July, his garage was a total mess.

Back then, Kirker decided to enlist because he wanted "to just take care of soldiers" instead of the drug addicts he told Cindy however frequently meet about the job.

March 4, 2010: Sgt. This ended up being the actual silence that will followed he couldn't stand.

Current military services members along with military retirees can access applications at Madigan Army Healthcare Center. You're going to have to complete items that tend to be unnatural for you to you. Kirker felt pain within his leg and also hip while he recovered via his surgical infection, nevertheless the loved ones created accommodations pertaining to him.

Madigan would not comment about Kirker's infection. said. An Army spokesman informed the News Tribune he cannot remark about the discipline. 31, 2009: Pfc. The idea implies any fallen soldier cannot solution comrades operating to help.

"You are simply in the position to trudge via mud therefore long," your woman stated regarding Kirker's lengthy bout along with PTSD. I even now have things to perform out."

If he had any kind of hesitancy regarding enlisting, a new cousin's death in the Iraq War took it away, said Cindy Kirker.

Kirker, 42, served inside the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment -- the machine that will suffered a lot more fatal casualties within the Afghanistan war as compared to some other comparable Army force. Roger Scherf, who was killed in a Spanaway automobile accident inside March 2011. "Sadly, that's how I feel a large amount of folks felt during that will deployment, certainly not if as well as when, but who's next? While if death had been inevitable to those strong, young noble men."


That James Roger Kirker took his or even the woman's own life didn't surprise the people that knew him well.

Over time, he'd always be dedicated twice to some post-traumatic strain along with alcohol abuse program inside Portland. Fernando De La Rosa, Sgt. The Actual military will be typically prohibited through giving punitive discharges for you to soldiers whom rebel right after creating mental health problems via publicity to combat.

The Army reassigned him to a clinic at Madigan Army Health-related Center, in that a co-worker named Lanaye Bergren caught his eye.

It had been the 2nd moment that will haunt Kirker following his homecoming. Bergren filed any complaint that will triggered an investigation by the agency faced with accrediting the actual hospital, and an unannounced inspection of the hospital about Could 27.

In what's believed being his 1st suicide attempt, Kirker raised a gun to be able to kill himself inside July 2011. Jared Stanker, Pfc. He wept over the particular soldier he attempted to talk out of enlisting. that indicates he even now may are already able to fight for a neutral discharge that might allow him in order to retain his benefits.

Kirker Sr. Christopher Walz, Sgt. Its behavioral wellness resources are detailed with www.mamc.amedd.army.mil/clinical/behavioral-health. A New group of incidents pushed him past his breaking point.

Bergren nowadays even now sounds appalled that an Army physician would label Kirker's PTSD as being a pre-existing condition when almost all involving his symptoms centered in his memories involving Afghanistan.

Kirker believed he needs to have been around the mission using Hallett delivering humanitarian guidance and achieving to be able to realize among your villages they'd end up being patrolling.

Oct. Cory Jenkins, Sgt. This lost 22 soldiers whilst searching for Taliban insurgents in 2009-10 just because the U.S. Aaron Aamot, Spc. He'd even be assigned in order to Madigan's around-the-clock monitoring mental health ward, known as five North.


Kirker's descent accelerated in the spring and summer regarding 2014. As Cindy observed it, the woman's husband had abandoned her and their teenagers together with Bergren's help. Any assistance team pertaining to 1-17 veterans lit up immediately.

Worse, Kirker convinced himself he'd be punished with a dishonorable discharge that would deny him the actual veterans advantages he had earned simply by serving inside Afghanistan.


"He saved my life," stated Jeremiah Butts involving Utah, a former Army specialist that credits Kirker with trying to end up being able to keep him alive after an explosion.

But the particular younger Kirker "always came back having a much better argument" supporting his choice for you to enlist.


After Sawyer's death, Cindy Kirker said, the girl husband developed a point to go on as numerous missions while he could. Jonathan Yanney

He left your memorial services tomorrow and also did not rejoin his family.

Kirker didn't reply to a text she sent him when she woke http://eumetcal.org.uk up. He mentioned he planned to mess around in the garage.

Kirker took his life just before his case had concluded. Kevin Graham

Aug. "Tell Sarah I'm sorry," he said, referring to become able to Sawyer's wife.

To any medic freshly home via Afghanistan, fun meant a new near good friend could possibly be hurt nevertheless rescued.

The diagnosis meant Kirker is most likely not eligible for certain legal protections. That had been his sixth attempt to end his life, his family members said.

It would be a startling attack in which destroyed the 20-ton Stryker as well as claimed the actual lives of your organization commander and the 1-17's best doctor.

Radio silence is worse. He looked over your younger men in the 1-17 whom shared his grief and also noticed his son's struggles.

Some discussed overcoming their own suicidal thoughts; other people offered an ear or even assist finding the task in order to any person whom required the lift.

Over any six-pack, your father advised his son: "You're planning to see, listen to and also smell items you're in absolutely no way planning to forget. Cory Jenkins, Sgt. military began to expand its forces in that war.

Disciplinary documents obtained simply by the News Tribune demonstrate that Madigan had moved forward by getting an "other compared to honorable" discharge that could get resulted in a loss involving benefits. Kyle Coumas

Cindy Kirker, his wife since age group 20, noticed which he'd mistake memories associated with their youth within southwest Ohio. Within Afghanistan, Scherf had survived any bomb that killed seven additional soldiers in their 20-ton Stryker.

Officers wrote in a July 2013 performance evaluation that his PTSD had been interfering together using his work. thought the medic would recover from the war.

They had lunch with every other within December 2010, Bergren said. Michael Dahl Jr

The Washington state Department associated with Veterans Affairs provides counseling plus a listing of additional regional resources. Issac Jackson, Spc. 17, 2009: Spc. Dennis Williams

Necrotizing fasciitis ate away with his leg muscle

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