Saturday, January 08, 2011

Update: Is This How we treat our Female Soldiers? Families seek answers about daughters' "Non-Combat" deaths

More families and friends of military daughters who died mysteriously reach out to

posted by John Lasker at Friday, January 7, 2011

It hasn't been a week since posted the story pitch "Is this how we treat our Female Soldiers? Families seek answers about daughters' "Non-Combat" deaths," but already several families and friends of military daughters have contacted also seeking media coverage for their loved one. These patriotic families are questioning the military's official explanation for their daughter's death. Some believe their daughters were raped and murdered and the military, desperate to recruit young women, are orchestrating cover-ups.

This week, a fellow soldier and friend of of US Army Staff Sgt. Amy Tirador emailed with the story of Tirador's death in Iraq in November of 2009. Tirador's story has gone largely unnoticed by the media, except for a story by ABC news. The friend's name is Gena Smith and she served under Tirador in Iraq. Gena, by the way, is a victim of Military Sexual Trauma, and vividly writes about how she's dealing with the crime and its emotional aftermath at

After a lengthy investigation, the military has ruled Tirador's death a suicide (she's pictured above). She apparently had rubber arms because the military claims she shot herself in the back of the head. Tirador's death, and how the military handled it, mirrors what happened to Private Lavena Johnson, Specialist Morganne McBeth, Lance Corp. Stacy Dryden and others. A female soldier dies mysteriously while on a secure American base in Afghanistan or Iraq. Initially, the military tells the family she died from "non-combat" related events, without offering any details. A military investigation is initiated, but takes months to complete. The family essentially is left in the dark, and finally an explanation comes, but it is simply not believable.

This is what Gena had to say about her good friend:
"Staff Sgt. Amy Tirador was killed while on perimeter guard by a gun shot to the back of the head, and the Army wrote it off as a suicide. I was in the unit with Staff Sgt. Tirador and she was a remarkable soldier and inspiring leader. Her death was a tragedy that still makes my heart ache. No one knows exactly what happened to her, and her family is insisting that they will do whatever it takes to prove she didn't kill herself. They deserve to know the truth, as do the families of these other women (Johnson, McBeth, Dryden and many more)."

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