Friday, September 28, 2012

Death Memorial

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.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Army Releases August Suicide Data

Army Releases August Suicide Data

The Army released suicide data today for the month of August. During August, among active-duty soldiers, there were 16 potential suicides: three have been confirmed as suicides and 13 remain under investigation. For July, the Army reported 26 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers: 13 have been confirmed as suicides and 13 remain under investigation. For 2012, there have been 131 potential active-duty suicides: 80 have been confirmed as suicides and 51 remain under investigation. Active-duty suicide number for 2011: 165 confirmed as suicides and no cases under investigation.
During August, among reserve component soldiers who were not on active duty, there were nine potential suicides (five Army National Guard and four Army Reserve): none have been confirmed as suicide and nine remain under investigation. For July, among that same group, the Army reported 12 potential suicides (nine Army National Guard and three Army Reserve); four have been confirmed as suicides and eight remain under investigation. For 2012, there have been 80 potential not on active-duty suicides (49 Army National Guard and 31 Army Reserve): 59 have been confirmed as suicides and 21 remain under investigation. Not on active-duty suicide numbers for 2011: 118 (82 Army National Guard and 36 Army Reserve) confirmed as suicides and no cases under investigation.

"The loss of any life is a tragedy, and this loss is preventable," said Sergeant Major of the Army Ray Chandler. "As an organization, we've taken huge strides in providing our Soldiers, Department of Army Civilians and Family members the needed resources to aid in suicide prevention, but our work isn't done. Army leaders will continue to do everything we can to reverse these trends."

To that end, today leaders throughout our Army are conducting suicide prevention training, resilience-building, and mentoring in observance of Army Suicide Stand Down Day.
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 .

Source:  DOD Announcement, verbatim

DOD to study impact of troops' death on family members

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Defense Department is looking for participants to take part in a study of how a servicemember’s death impacts surviving family members.

The National Military Family Bereavement Study is a five-year project that will examine emotional impact, loss of benefits, level of community support, and how bereavement changes over time in hopes that researchers can learn from grieving post-9/11 military families to enact better survivor care policy, researchers said Tuesday in a Defense Department news release.

The study is being conducted by the Defense Department’s Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and is the first large-scale scientific bereavement study to focus on the impact the death of a servicemember has on their family, the release said. The study was funded by the DOD’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program through the university’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress in Bethesda, Md.

Read the entire story here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Department of Defense Expands Sexual Assault Prevention Efforts

Department of Defense Expands Sexual Assault Prevention Efforts

As part of the Department of Defense's efforts to confront the crime of sexual assault in the military, today the department announced improvements to prospective commander and senior enlisted training and a review of the initial military training environment in every service.
First, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has instituted higher standards for sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR) training for pre-command training. These changes are the result of a review ordered by the secretary in January 2012.

The review found that while these leaders are receiving SAPR training, the department should take specific steps to improve its quality and consistency across the services. Based on these findings, the secretary has directed the military services to:

• Develop and implement standardized core competencies, learning objectives, and methods for objectively assessing the effectiveness of SAPR programs.

• Provide a dedicated block of SAPR instruction that incorporates best practices including interactive instruction with vignettes, exercises, and classroom discussion.

• Provide a quick-reference SAPR "Commander's Guide", review in the classroom, that personnel can then use in subsequent leadership roles.

• Assess commanders' and senior enlisted leaders' understanding of the key SAPR concepts and skills and develop and implement refresher training to sustain skills and knowledge.

Secretary Panetta has placed a high priority on this issue and directed the military departments to report back to him on the development of these core competencies and assessment methods by Dec. 20, 2012, and that implementation of these measures start no later than March 30, 2013.

Second, Secretary Panetta has directed that each military department conduct a comprehensive assessment of all initial military training of enlisted personnel and commissioned officers to ensure a safe and secure environment.

This assessment will look across the services into several key areas including the selection, training, and oversight of basic training instructors and leaders who directly supervise initial military training for officers and enlisted personnel. The study will also look at the instructor to student ratio, the ratio of leaders in the chain of command to instructors, and consider the potential benefits of increasing the number of female instructors.

In addition, the secretary has directed all of the military services to review their internal controls to identify and prevent inappropriate behavior throughout initial military training; to evaluate student accessibility to SAPR programs; the timing, contact and delivery of SAPR related training; and the timing and effectiveness of processes for gathering student feedback.

Secretary Panetta has directed the military departments to report back to him on findings and recommendations by Feb. 8, 2013.

Together, these reviews are part of a broad, multi-faceted effort to fundamentally change the way the department confronts sexual assault from prevention, investigation, victim care, and accountability. The men and women of the U.S. military must be able to serve in an environment that is free from the threat of sexual assault. Service members and their families must feel secure enough to report this crime without fear of retribution and commanders must hold offenders appropriately accountable.

A copy of the full text of the Evaluation of Pre-Command Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Training report and Secretary Panetta's directives are available at

Source:  DOD Announcement, verbatim

Monday, September 24, 2012

Death Memorial

Pfc. Jayson David Coffman
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 days before 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 would park 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 had to endure. The cover up and the murder and the reckless care of our military personnel must be stopped NOW.
Update on Story “The Torment Must End”

Murder of PFC Jayson David Coffman

As of September 24, 2011, it has been 12 years since my son Jayson had suffered brutality while enlisted in the US Army which led to his death. My four other children are still going through bouts of grief, confusion, and lack the full truth of their brothers death. We have moved forward but we still suffer great pain and our lives have never been the same. One of my daughters describes her experience as, “when Jayson died a part of me went with him”. We all feel this way.

As Jayson’s mother, I can say that not only has part of me left with him but also I grieve what “might have been”. We are robbed of my son’s future with us. I will never have a daughter- in law, grand children through him, holiday memories, his laughter in hard times, and so much more I could not even list them all. As survivors we not only grieve the loss of our loved ones presence but the losses of a life completely altered and changed forever. Even as a minister, my grief is often not comforted. I receive some strength and comfort from my faith, but there is no “healing” from love. Love is just love. Just because my son is now dead, does not mean I will ever love him less. My heart longs for him and although I know by faith where he is and that he is no longer suffering from this world, my “mother’s heart” will always ache for him.

We have recently received some updates on Jayson’s case through communication sent to us by an individual who worked with Jayson and knows some of his story. It has been confirmed once again through this person that Jayson’s wallet, and personal belongings were in his locker the morning it was discovered he was “missing”. The report we received from the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) clearly states that Jaysons wallet, dog tags, ID, and supposed suicide note was found on his body after he was discovered in the woods hanging from a tree three and a half weeks after he went missing. The individual who contacted me has also stated that he and his wife met with Jayson prior to his death and he seemed fine, even in light that there were issues going on concerning Jayson and the Army.

In my original account of our experience concerning Jayson’s murder, (called suicide by the US Army) I made mention that Jayson’s things were sent back to us in a huge mess and most of his belongings broken. Jayson’s captain had expressed to me that he personally packed Jayson’s things himself with the help of a newly stationed female soldier. This is contrary to the new information received in the email sent to us by the individual who worked with Jayson. His statement was that he and his wife packed his clothing, and things that were sent back to me, personally, and he assured me his things were in good order when they packed them. Strangely, there is no explanation as to the
reason a confederate flag was stuffed in the bag Jayson’s clothing was packed in. Continued attempts to connect and ask about this flag have now been met with no response. When Jayson was alive he told me in a phone conversation of this confederate towel which was purchased by his room mate for racial reasons because they had an African American soldier moved into their barracks with them. Jayson explained his room mate’s reason was to get the soldier to desire to be transferred to another room, and that clearly his room mate’s actions were racially motivated. Jayson said he had no problem with the latest soldier added to their room and stated he appeared to be a very nice guy. Jayson had many friends prior to enlisting in the army and they were all of mixed races. In fact, quite often Jayson was the only Caucasian person in his circle of friends.

Jayson also expressed a more intense desire to know his “nationality” and wondered in light of the fact his last name was Coffman if he was of any Jewish descent. I had to once again explain to him that Coffman was his given name because that was my last name at the time and that it was not that of his true father. Although Coffman is considered a name of Jewish descent, we have no Jewish lineage, and nor did Jayson. My next question was why he wanted to know all of this. In the past we had already discussed the fact that Jayson’s given name on his birth certificate was not that of his real father and it was done that way because his father was not in our lives and I wanted his name to match mine even though it was one of a different marriage.

I suppose my next concern on this matter is if the confederate flag which was packed in his bag was a hate message or even why it would be sent when it was not Jaysons. I did a search on racism and what the confederate flag stands for and I found a page explaining that it usually
stands for racism by white supremacists against those of African and Jewish descent. The symbolism is that if a “noose and cross”. Jayson “lost” his cross he always wore around his neck a month prior to his death and was hung on a tree by his bed sheet formed into a noose around his neck. I can’t help but feel that my son’s death had some form of racial hatred attached to it.

Jayson loved rap singing and was quite good at it. I did not always approve of the lyrics but he definitely had a talent for rapping. I was told by a soldier’s wife that Jayson and another soldier had rap “competitions” between them and that other soldier was a black man. My son was a young man who was persecuted all of his life but he had an acceptance of all people. He had his enemies, but he found it to be a continual battle and not something he wanted in his life.

Another area of concern is that the military police commented to me that Jayson was not being looked for even though he was missing. This was confirmed by the message I have recently received in the statement that many of the soldiers wanted to immediately go and look for him.
They were told that if they did they would be disciplined. In light of the fact that my son’s body was found about 5 minutes from the army barracks, this is inexcusable! He would have been found for sure and it is obvious to me that the intent was that he not be found. In fact he was found by Marines who were doing training in the woods on Army property.

My question in mind at this point, is “Why won’t these people come forward who know facts regarding my son’s murder, and as a group,

present these facts to the criminal investigation department so that we might have a resolution? Can the US military intimidate others so much that they can get away with murder untouched? I know there are many families who really would like to know the answer to this question. No one should have to live with the pain my family lives with and the lack of closure. No soldier should have to live with the guilt of knowing the truth about a crime but feel intimidated into keeping silent. This can’t help but eat at someone’s guts. I am reminded by the truth of my Christian faith. To know sin and do nothing about it is to be a part of it. So therefore those who know things and do not come forward are just as guilty of the crime as those who committed it. This is not a comment I want to say but it is the truth so I have to say it. Even in civilian investigations those who know about a crime and keep silent are considered an accomplice to the crime itself. It is standing in the way of justice and also allowing others to be subject to those who obviously got away with murder. My plea, and that of my family, is please come forward so we can all have the truth.

In light of all that has happened we still love our county, the freedoms our military soldiers stood for and still fight for today. We are forgiving people. We only want closure, justice, and truth.

Jenine Marie Mason

If you would like to contact Rev. Mason,
please email us and we
will forward your mail to her.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Training center CO fired after hazing probe

The commanding officer of Training Support Center San Diego was relieved of command Friday after violating the Navy's policy on hazing, the Navy said.

Read the entire story here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hill Wants Sex Assault Cases Out of Commands

Congress has floated a bill that would take ruling authority away from commanders in sexual assault cases and hand it over to an independent panel.

The bill comes as Pentagon leaders scramble to tackle a rising number of sexual assault cases spreading through the military. In 2011, servicemembers filed over 3,000 sexual assaults reports.

Read the entire story here.

US Army to hold mandatory suicide prevention training

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — As the entire military grapples with a rising tide of suicides despite years of fighting what some call an epidemic, the Army will take a day to focus on the problem and how to prevent it.

In the coming days, soldiers from Germany to South Korea to the Pentagon will be attending mandatory suicide prevention raining, followed by additional programs or activities chosen by local leaders that promote getting help and recognizing when others might need it, too.

Army Vice Chief Staff Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III ordered the “stand down” following the release of figures indicating 38 soldiers killed themselves in July. So far this year, 187 soldiers — 116 on active duty — are believed to have died by their own hands.

Read the entire story here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New DOD Safe Helpline Mobile App Now Available

New DOD Safe Helpline Mobile App Now Available

The Department of Defense announced its new DoD Safe Helpline Mobile Application. With this new app, service members transitioning to civilian life will have access to critical resources that assists in managing the short and long-term effects of sexual assault.
This new app is the latest in a string of technological innovations designed to support sexual assault victims in the military. The app contains the option for users to record their current emotional state and create tailored self-care plans to address sadness, hopelessness and disconnection. These self-care plans include suggested resources and exercises, and can be stored for future reference. This includes a list of breathing, stretching and visualization techniques that can reduce anxiety, depression and symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
"Victims want to choose when and where they get support so we are using technology to provide them as many options as possible," said DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office Director Maj. Gen. Gary S. Patton. "This new app tied into the Safe Helpline is another tool to provide support to military victims of sexual assault."
Users can connect with live sexual assault response professionals via phone or anonymous online chat from their mobile devices for support. Users can also navigate resources (e.g., disability assistance, medical benefits, housing help and employment assistance), or search for resources near their base or installation. The Safe Helpline mobile app is for short-term self-care and is not to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice or a mental health treatment plan.
The DoD Safe Helpline Mobile App is free and available for download from the Apple and Android app stores. DoD administers Safe Helpline via a contract with the non-profit Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization.
Additional information regarding the Department's Sexual Assault and Response Office can be found at .

Source:  DOD Announcement, verbatim