Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Death Anniversary

1st Lt. Phillip Kent

Who was Phillip? …My only son, grandson, soldier, comrade, friend, and scholar who loved his country and was ready to fulfill his military duty with enthusiasm and determination.

Phillip was a Veteran (one of who fought in a war) of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He brought his men/equipment home safely but tragically he came home a broken man suffering from PTSD.
Upon returning he found his marriage broken, little or no debriefing from the Army…. As a parent, I contacted Army Chaplains. ‘No help, no returned calls.

Phil was forced to resign his commission or face more harassment from fellow officers. Phil left Fort Hood, Texas in November 2004. He returned home to South Carolina, and succumbed to death by his own hand.

Each time I share my story I become a stronger human being. I appreciate the many Care Organization that help bridge the gap that exists between soldier families, citizens and bureaucrats, who have never been there; who cope with their fears and inadequacies by avoidance and denial.

Laura Kent
Mother of 1st Lt. Phil Kent

If you have any information about this case, please contact me through this website.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Death Anniversary

Cpl. Andrew White, USMC
Our youngest son, Cpl. Andrew White, USMC, was home from Iraq five days when his older brother, SSgt. Robert F. White, 82nd ABN US ARMY, was killed in action in Afghanistan on September 26, 2006.

On 12 February 2008, Andrew died while being treated by the VA for PTSD. He was taking 60 mg. Paxil, 4 mg. of Klonopin, and 1600 mg. of Seroquel. He died in his sleep.

Since then, his mother and I have been on a mission to find answers so that no other family will suffer these losses while their loved ones are being treated for PTSD.

With the help of several new friends, we have found that at least 57 others have died in similar circumstances — some from these same meds, while other deaths are still under investigation.
If you know of any families that have lost loved ones while taking these meds, please contact us through this website. We have been to Congress with our story and the stories of at least eight other families (five in West Virginia). Our goal is threefold:
  1. Collect the stories of other soldiers who have died from meds while being treated for PTSD.
  2. Lobby Congress to force the DOD and VA to use less medication and more counseling for PTSD, and
  3. Lobby for an in-depth investigation into why the VA and DOD continues to prescribe the lethal mix of antidepressants, antipsychotics and pain killing drugs.
Stan and Shirley White, Cross Lanes WV
To contact the Whites, email us and we’ll forward your message.

Dying in Their Sleep:  The Invisible Plague Attacking U.S. Soldiers

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Death Anniversary

Jayson David Coffman, September 24, 1999

The Torment Must End: Let the Truth Be Told

My son, Jayson David Coffman, my firstborn of five children was taken from me, brutally, violently and without justice, without the truth. Jayson was stationed at Ft. Story, Virginia, a U.S. Army post right on Virginia Beach. His life was taken at the young age of 20, without justifiable cause and without the benefit of support from his family or legal counsel. Jayson, like many military personnel, did not die in battle overseas, but on a military facility right here in the United States.

I will never forget the day I heard the news. It will ring in my mind for the rest of my life. I was told my son committed suicide and was hung in the woods just five minutes from his barracks. I was shocked beyond my wildest dreams and it was then that my life came crashing down around me. My head was spinning and my heart went numb. I lost all composure and at times I was a rock. I was angry, hurt, confused and shocked to the bone. I had just spoken to him only a few days beforehand. I heard a happy, well-adjusted voice over the phone announce to me that he had purchased a ring and was going to ask his girlfriend to marry him. We laughed, teased each other and both said, “I love you” before we hung up.

Little did I know that my son would leave this earthly plane through such a vicious attack to his person. The information became known to me long after the investigation was over through military personnel who did not want to get into trouble for telling the truth, but had to get it off their chests.
My dear one, the one I held in my arms, formed in my body and cared for over twenty years of his life, was beaten by soldiers on his post for talking to a girlfriend of a fellow soldier. Alcohol was purchased for him by an NCO (non-commissioned officer) and he was then reported for drinking on the job. The NCO kept his job and was told to keep his mouth shut. When Jayson was counseled for the drinking, he was told that his Army career was over and that life as he knew it would never be the same.

He was reported missing on September 24, 1999 and was not “discovered” until three and a half weeks later. The military police told me they would not look for him. The Marines found him hanging from a tree just within sight and walking distance from his barracks. The Army told me that two soldiers, the Captain and a Sergeant, looked for him daily. How could they have not seen him? The smell from rotting flesh was so strong that when the Marines found him, they could hardly stand it. He was found with his wallet, ID and a note to his girlfriend in his pocket, yet I was told that those things were found in his locker. He was not searched for because his things were thrown in a box marked AWOL (absent without leave). He was just left to hang there and rot for three and a half weeks so there would be no toxicology report in the autopsy. He was found with his knees on the ground, legs crossed; one arm was dislocated from his shoulder and found to the right of his body and on the ground. (No explanation for this was noted in the autopsy report.) Beer bottles were at the scene, yet the mother of the girlfriend called me to tell me that the autopsy report had shown no alcohol in his blood. The thing was, that the autopsy report had not yet come out and his body was too decomposed to even get a toxicology report. His girlfriend’s father was a Colonel in the Air Force and was notified of my son’s death three daysbefore I was notified. My son was dead and discovered and I was not even told for three days! It took until the end of October to get his body back in California.

I was contacted by soldiers he worked with, and told that the Army killed my son. I believe them, they were present. They covered it up by allowing a great deal of time to pass by so no evidence could be found. They lied about his wallet and told me it was in his locker and then placed it on his body with his ID and a note to his girlfriend that they most likely got out of a box of letters that my son kept for his girlfriend. He wrote to her often and sometimes did not send the letters.

Jayson was drowned in alcohol; died from his own vomit and hung to make it look like a suicide. His things were all sent back to me at Christmastime all thrown in a box: dirty underwear and socks all mixed with now-broken items that had belonged to my son. His pillow was included and still had the stains from his tears on it.

He was supposedly on 24-hour suicide watch that night, but if he were, he would never have been able to get out alone unseen. The last time he was seen by his roommate, it was late at night and he was in his bed, asleep, yet his body was found fully dressed in his Army uniform. He was hung by his bedsheet, which was never reported missing from his room.

I had made a big deal about the fact that my son would never have left and gone AWOL without his wallet and personal items. I find it strange that his wallet and ID were then found on his body.
I was not sent the Criminal Investigation Report and autopsy until a year later. The report states that he died from suicide. We live with a lie and my son’s life looks just like a lie.
No family should have to go through this kind of pain. Every day after taking my kids to school, I wouldpark in th garage in my car, turn off the engine and cry until my guts felt like they would fall out. Then I just went numb.

I was warned not to pursue investigation of the Army and their deeds because my fate may end up just like my son’s. This came from a dear friend who worked closely with my son and knew all of the truth. He was there. Many stories have emerged over the years and brought to my attention regarding military abuse of our enlisted soldiers. These are our husbands, wives, and children. Our kids, from the age of eighteen, are being told that the military will assist them to further their careers and give them pride. They enlist, as Jayson did, to make a better life for themselves. They just never are told about the humiliation, and the fact that they might just have to die at the hands of their fellow soldiers.

There are many stories that are coming out into the open and our purpose is to expose them all in order to enlighten the public as to what kind of behavior goes on in our U.S. Military. Don’t get me wrong, we love our country. It is the wrongdoing from our U.S. Forces and officials who turn a blind eye when it comes to military accountability. We desire justice for the sake of our kids. Our kids and loved ones deserve to have the truth be told concerning their deaths. No other family should have to endure what we have hadto endure. The cover up and the murder and the reckless care of our military personnel must be stopped NOW.

Jenine Marie Mason

Friday, September 23, 2011

Petition regarding non-combat death investigations

Please consider creating an account at and sign our petition.

Ensure that the Department of Defense honor its own Instructions 5505.10 and 1300.18 regarding non-combat deaths.

"All military non-combat deaths, not of natural causes, must be investigated as potential homicides, as the most current Department of Defense Instructions, 5505.10 and 1300.18 specify. We believe that the Department of Defense should obey their own guidelines regarding investigations. Rules about informing family members of these fallen military men and women should be followed. Breaches of the Uniform Code of Military Justice by members of the Armed Forces which have contributed to these non-combat deaths or to the dissemination of false official statements must be punished according to the UCMJ. An independent review panel should be created to investigate discrepancies presented by families. "

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Link to Discussion of DoD Instructions on Non-combat Death Investigations

Click here to listen to a discussion about the Department of Defense Instructions on the investigations of non-combat deaths.  Learn something about the rules which are often ignored and about the acknowledged rights of families in these cases.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No End in Sight for a Family’s Agonizing Guessing Game

"Struggling under what she sees as a blanket of resistance from the Army, Sylvia McBeth remains among the countless parents who have lost children in the military and must live with a never-ending question: Just what happened to my kid?"
Posted on Sep 21, 2011

Images courtesy friends of Morganne McBeth
By John Lasker

Jumping out of high-flying aircraft isn’t how most 19-year-old women get their kicks, but for Morganne McBeth that was one of the joyous things in her young life. “She loved it. She’d tell us, ‘You are in a totally different universe,’ and this was fun for her,” her step mother, Sylvia McBeth of Fredericksburg, Va., said of the Army paratrooper. Morganne’s brother, Army Sgt. Christopher McBeth, 28, who has completed two tours in Iraq, added, “She lived for this.”

Read the whole story here.

 Trial in Medic's Case Delayed

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

McHugh Cites Major Improvements at Arlington National Cemetery

Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh today released publicly a “Report to Congress,” updating improvements made at Arlington National Cemetery more than a year after he ousted the cemetery’s leadership and made sweeping changes in its structure and oversight.

“In just over a year, the cemetery’s new management team has made major progress in reconciling decades’ worth of paper records with physical graveside inspections to regain accountability,” McHugh wrote in a letter to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. “They have put in place new policies and procedures to protect against and prevent the type of errors uncovered in the Army’s previous investigations. Equipment and training have been modernized, contracting procedures revamped, a historic partnership created with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the workforce improved and reinvigorated, and ongoing outreach and information has been provided to family members and the American public.”

McHugh provided the report to Congressional oversight committees in response to legislation seeking the status of a directive he signed that made sweeping reforms at Arlington National Cemetery. In compiling the report, McHugh directed the Army’s inspector general to again inspect the facility to determine compliance. An earlier inspector general report, also ordered by McHugh, found failures in management and oversight that contributed to the loss of accountability, lack of proper automation, ineffective contract compliance, and a dysfunctional workforce.

“Perhaps most important, the inspector general found the mismanagement that existed prior to these changes, ‘no longer exists,’” he said. “And that ‘significant progress has been made in all aspects of the cemetery’s performance, accountability and modernization.’ We’re confident that the Army is on the right path toward repairing the cemetery’s failures and restoring the confidence of Congress and the American people.”

McHugh noted that even while making massive improvements in the cemetery’s management and oversight, the pace of 27 to 30 funeral services per day -- many with full military honors -- has not abated.

“Since 1864, the United States Army has been steward of this, the country’s only active military shrine,” McHugh said. “I believe this report will demonstrate the Army’s steadfast commitment to repairing what was broken in the past, and ensuring America’s continued confidence in the operation of its most hallowed ground.”

NOTE: The secretary’s “Report to Congress” and the Department of the Army inspector general’s report on inspection of Arlington National Cemetery are available at: .

For more information contact Lt. Col. Lee M. Packnett at 703-697-7592.

Source:  Department of Defense Announcement

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Army Releases August Suicide Data

The Army released suicide data today for the month of August. Among active-duty soldiers, there were 19 potential suicides: three have been confirmed as suicides and 16 remain under investigation. For July 2011, the Army reported 22 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, five cases have been confirmed as suicide, and 17 cases remain under investigation.

During August 2011, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were nine potential suicides: none have been confirmed as suicide and nine remain under investigation. For July 2011, the Army reported 10 potential suicides among not-on-active-duty soldiers. Since the release of that report, one case has been added for a total of 11 cases. Three cases have been confirmed as suicide and eight cases remain under investigation.

“Suicide prevention training and awareness are vital components of the Army's health promotion and risk reduction efforts against the tragic occurrence of suicide within our ranks,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1. “It is a priority that deserves our full attention and continued emphasis by all leaders. Junior leaders and first-line supervisors can be especially effective in assisting those in a moment of crisis. We collaborate extensively with other federal and national programs to assure we remain abreast of the very latest research and best practices. To date, our focused efforts have resulted in thousands of trained individuals throughout the Army who now have the skills to recognize the signs of suicide, exercise appropriate intervention techniques, and engage the numerous organizations within the Army and DoD that stand ready to help at any hour of the day or night. These skills are invaluable and have equipped many in our Army to lend a hand to fellow soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, and their families in their daily encounters,” said Bostick.
Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained consultants are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and can be contacted by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by visiting their website at .

Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in newly revised Army Regulation 600-63 (Health Promotion) at: and Army Pamphlet 600-24 (Health Promotion, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention) at .

The Army's comprehensive list of Suicide Prevention Program information is located at .
Suicide prevention training resources for Army families can be accessed at (requires Army Knowledge Online access to download materials).

Information about Military OneSource is located athttp://www.militaryonesource.comor by dialing the toll-free number 1-800-342-9647for those residing in the continental United States. Overseas personnel should refer to the Military OneSource website for dialing instructions for their specific location.

Information about the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is located at .

The Defense Center for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center can be contacted at 1-866-966-1020, via electronic mail at and at .
The website for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is, and the Suicide Prevention Resource Council site is found at .

The website for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors is, and they can be reached at 1-800-959-TAPS (8277).


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pvt. Keiffer Wilhelm's parents blame Army cruelty

Shortly after a 19-year-old Fort Bliss soldier killed himself with a gunshot to the head in 2009 while serving in Iraq, four of his unit leaders were charged with cruel treatment of their soldiers.

The case of Pvt. Keiffer Wilhelm opened a discussion on both the Army's training procedures and the problem of suicide among its soldiers. And none of the parents involved were happy with the outcome.

Read the entire story here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Military suicides not just a number to 1 lawmaker

A House Armed Services hearing Friday on the status of suicide prevention programs in the military gave leaders from the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps a chance to answer lawmakers' questions about identifying service members at risk and other steps they are taking to stop suicides. The military witnesses highlighted their efforts and described how services members often "dance with some dragons," which was how Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Milstead Jr., put it.

Read the entire story here.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Another non-combat death: Soldier from Echmiadzin shot dead in Karabakh’s military unit

Another violent incident has taken place in a Karabakh military unit resulting in the death of a soldier. At 6:00 am on Wednesday, near combat positions in Askeran, private Hayk Mkrtchyan reportedly received fatal gunshots.

Military authorities in Stepanakert said the serviceman of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army (born in 1992) had been drafted from the military registration and enlistment office of Armenia’s town of Echmiadzin. The local military commissar Hayk Mkrtchyan later told the “Human Rights in Armenia” website ( that Mkrtchyan was killed with a shot fired by a fellow soldier. The shooter has not been named yet.

This is the second non-combat death within the Armenian armed forces within a space of two weeks. Also, earlier this week, media and online social networks disseminated a video material telling about how a serviceman identified as Hovhannes Vardanyan ended up in a madhouse after serving 14 months in the armed forces. The Military Prosecutor’s Office has already instituted a criminal case in connection with this footage on the hallmarks of a penal code article dealing with abuse of power, stretch of authority or inaction.

Armenia’s human rights activists estimate that since the cessation of hostilities in Karabakh in 1994, as many as 1,500 young men have died while serving in Armenian armed forces. In contrast, throughout the 1992-1994 war, about 6,000 combatants were killed on the Armenian side. So far authorities have refused to disclose the statistics of army casualties in peacetime.

A number of human-rights organizations on Tuesday issued a statement, calling unacceptable torture and violence against soldiers and attempts to cover up such cases. They also demanded concrete steps to combat hazing and remedy the general atmosphere within the army ranks.

Friday, September 02, 2011

This is a link to a radio discussion about the movie, "Semper Fi -- Always Faithful" with Jerry Ensminger and Pam Baragona. The movie is a documentary about the problem of contaminated water at Ft. LeJeune, North Carolina.