Our son TJ was on the promotions list to get his Sgts promotion. On the day of his death he was threatened that he was being removed from the promotions list. He was pronounced dead at 7:19AM Iraq time and at 2:30PM was posthumously awarded his Sgt. stripes. What they withheld from him in life, they gave to him in death.
His death was deemed a suicide by his commander before the CID investigation was completed and before the autopsy was completed. In their circular thinking, we have been told that the suicide determination was made based on the CID report, but CID says it was based on the autopsy.
On the day of our son’s death, as I said, he was pronounced dead at 7:19AM Iraq time, CID was not notified until 10:00AM of his death and CID did not arrive until 2:00PM. Before they arrived, someone in the chain of command ordered the area to be cleaned. As a result there was nothing for CID to look at when they did arrive.
A ballistics expert, who looked at the CID report and autopsy for us, says that the wound described in the autopsy could not have been made by the weapon our son was carrying, less than 12-18 inches from his head.
As he told us, “Your son’s arms were not long enough to have held the weapon that far from his head and pulled the trigger.” He shared that without a doubt, “Your son did not take his own life.”
The investigation done by CID was ordered reopened by the Army Office of the Inspector General. Their findings were that there had been procedural errors made in the investigation, but they did not comment on the outcome.
My husband, who is a Viet Nam vet says we will never know what really happened that morning.