Stars and Stripes
Published: June 7, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — By last September, the Army had had just about enough of infantryman Jacob Andrews, so it gave him a general discharge and a one-way bus ticket home to Kansas City.
He had plenty to think about on the 30-hour trip from Fort Drum, N.Y.
There were the alcohol-fueled mistakes that had led to the end of his military career, and the memories of good friends who had been killed the year before in Afghanistan. There was, in particular, his horrific discovery of the body of one friend who had been crushed to death in a Humvee accident.
There was the night back at Fort Drum when he’d tried to commit suicide.
Friends and family members say the Army was more than happy to take Andrews when it needed new soldiers for an unpopular war, but that it punished and abandoned him when he returned from Afghanistan, despite clear signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and possible traumatic brain injury.
Those actions, they charge, put Andrews on the path to his tragic demise. In April, as the government hounded him for repayment of his re-enlistment bonus, and after he was incorrectly denied the educational benefits he’d counted on to help make a new start, Andrews, 22, hanged himself in a wooded area near his parents’ home in Kansas City.
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