Elderly Veterans Commit Suicide At A Higher Rate Than Non-Veterans

| March 12, 2019 | 63 Comments

There’s been an alarming rise in the suicide rate among younger veterans. But elderly veterans commit suicide at a rate higher than the non-veteran population. The VA wants to find out how to stop it.

Here they go again.  What we really have is an alarming amount of money being spent on doing these studies.   They spend most of their time making us out to be victims of our service to this country.

They single out a few that make all kinds of victim claims.

Stark retired from the Navy in 1994. He served aboard a submarine in the Arctic in the 1970s and again during Desert Storm. He understands that, for some older veterans, no accomplishment is ever enough.

“We have things about stolen valor. Nobody wants to misrepresent themselves,” he said. “So I’m a Vietnam-era veteran. I’m not a Vietnam veteran. I was in Desert Storm, but I wasn’t in combat. We’re always talking about what we’re not quite.”

I will probably try to track down Starks records.

I could save the VA a lot of money.  Many older veterans do not want to die in pain while stewing in a puddle of their own piss.  The bulk of veterans are either in their 30’s or 70’s.

It’s not all that hard to understand.

Source: Elderly Veterans Commit Suicide At A Higher Rate Than Non-Veterans : NPR

Category: Health Care debate

Comments (63)

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  1. Ret_25X says:

    Pain. Neglectful families. Poverty.

    There are some pretty interesting factors involved. All of which, unironically, are the same for everyone.

    • DinoSquid says:

      Poverty, I think, is a big one, combined with education (or lack of it) and we have people with a huge felling of being in a hopeless situation with lots of regret.

    • Cowpill says:

      I use gabapentin for pain in my feet and back, now the DEA and FDA want to make it a schedule C narcotic because a “Study” they did in Kentucky found that 33 people used gabapentin as a high enhancer. What does this mean for honest users? No more mail service and 3 month supply. Now it will be one week supply and I have to drive an hour to the VA to sign for it. Put that requirement on a veteran that is mobility restricted and for some choices have to be made.

      • rgr1480 says:

        I had to take a low dose of 45ml/day of gabapentin during my radiation treatment … it didn’t give me a high, but I did bump into walls, stumble, and was much more forgetful than I normally am.

  2. 26Limabeans says:

    Oh my God. I just turned 70.
    Im a veteran. Am I at risk?

    • Comm Center Rat says:

      LB you’re not at risk as long as you avoid frozen moose droppings in the Great North Woods.

    • 26Limabeans; Don’t sweat the small shit, I’ll be hitting 74 this November.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I just turned 73. What were your complaints, again?

      I have no desire to go the way my mother did at 94, starving herself to death in a nursing home. She refused to eat the (very good) food the kitchen prepared for her, with generous helpings, and wasted away to nothing.

      I prefer to go the way my Dad did. He had a heart attack and a stroke at the same time. Boom! He was gone! It’s the only way to go.

      • akpual says:

        An elderly friend of mine,92 yrs old, is at home in a hospital bed. He can’t get up to even use the bath room. His daughter takes care of him, changing diaper, bath etc. His daughter found him laying on the floor then the hospital for a week and now this at home. He confided in me that he wished his daughter would have been later and had found him dead. I don’t want to go this way. Yep the heart attack is the way to go.

      • 26Limabeans says:

        I have no complaints Ex. I’m healthy, physically fit and quite handsome.
        It’s just the VA trying to tell me I’m gonna off myself because that’s the latest craze according the “studies”.

      • Buckeye Jim says:

        I want to go out like my uncle Bill. He died peacefully in his sleep, not like his passengers who were screaming as his car went over the cliff.

        On second thought, I would like to die at the age of 104 after being shot by a jealous husband.

  3. Non Cedo Ferio says:

    I’m not sure how stolen valor plays in to this “ but some older veterans no accomplishment is ever enough. So , if I’m reading this right, the guy is saying im suicidal because I feel I didn’t do enough or see combat in the military and is aftraid of being labeled as a valor thief is reason to off yourself. I’ve heard of issues relating to combat , mst, adjusting issues after getting out, financial , divorce , and in the interest of honesty some of those applied to me when I went down the rabbit hole, and I’ve been around other veterans in the same boat but I don’t think I ever heard something like , I was a POG, I didn’t see combat and I’m afraid someone’s gonna think I’m a valor thief as a reason for suicidal ideation. I’m not saying it ain’t possible , but to lump a group of older vets into that catagory seems like a stretch. I would think loneliness or family neglect , loss of a spouse seems more plausible , but if you write an article like this people who don’t know better are gonna read it and boom! Another innacurate veteran stereotype is born

  4. Hondo says:

    I can save them some $$$ too, DH.

    Roughly 80+% of veterans are male.

    The suicide rate for men is higher than that for women.

    For some reason, articles about the “veteran suicide” issue never seem to explain how they took that gender-disparity between the veteran and general populations into account. Until I see the data, I’ll guess they did not.

    I’ll also guess that gender breakout (80% male, and males having a higher suicide rate) explains a fair amount of the observed disparity between the veteran and non-veteran suicide rates.

  5. Comm Center Rat says:

    “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” ~ Winston Churchill

  6. 5th/77th FA says:

    Just as no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors, no one really knows what goes on inside someone’s head. I don’t even want to spend too much time walking around in my own head, I’ll take a detour, thank you. I have had some very good friends that offed themselves, no note, no explanation, no clue why they did it. They were not Veterans, and there was a mix of male and female. None reached out to anyone at any time.

    I think I could understand someone whose health has deteriorated to the point that they are wallowing in their own stews and just want to give up. Having seen old folks in senior care centers, the hopelessness in their eyes, the loss of any desire to live, and the lack of any ability to change their situation. During my hospitalization of my 2nd stroke, while waiting for another MRI, there was an elderly gentlemen on the other gurney, awaiting his turn. He appeared to be considerably older, strapped to the gurney, a total of 7 ports taped to various portions of his body. Nothing but skin and bones. He managed to rasp out to me when I asked if I could do something for him…..yes, please kill me. I would not to be in his situation. Think it was 26Limabeans who posted the other day that he had told his neighbors if they saw him twitching on the ground to just walk away and come back later when the twitching ceased. I can relate.

    • AnotherPat says:

      “Just as no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors, no one really knows what goes on inside someone’s head.”

      Thank You, 5th/77th FA for proving your wisdom and insight on suicide.

  7. NHSparky says:

    I didn’t retire, and in retrospect I’m glad I didn’t stay in that long. I don’t remember a single Chief on any of my boats that didn’t look at least 10-15 years older than they actually were.

    No, I’m not a combat veteran either, but if I see a gent with his “fish”, and maybe an SSDR or two, and I know they’ve seen some shit. Tack on an Navy Expeditionary Medal, and you know there has been some time in places that would have been “difficult to explain” had they been caught.

    Trust me, if I do anything to harm myself, it’s because of long-term disability or terminal illness, not my state of mind.

    • Dennis - not chevy says:

      I think you’re on to something there. I remember back in ’75 when I enlisted; I was a medic back then and there were a lot of good experienced medics getting out as quickly as they could. I asked some of them why; even as an E-2 I could tell their skills would be missed. To a man they told me one could count the years someone would live after 20 years service on one hand; thirty years was even less. More than once I heard the expression, “Sammy uses you til he uses you up.”
      I saw the same look on USAF Senior NCO’s; their IDs said 30 – 40 something years old, their faces said they were in their 50 – 60’s.
      Don’t let me paint with too wide a brush; but how many of the career types woke up one morning no longer in charge of a bunch of folks with huge responsibilities? Now, they may be big noises in the world as business or academic leaders or they may be just the folks at the counter, desk, steering wheel, or computer, or whatever in charge of nothing more than what they’ll have for lunch.
      Could it be this lack of mission, this being just one more member of the rat race, is just too depressing for them? No longer is anyone impressed by the spit shine they religiously apply to their boots, the way they still set up their foot lockers and racks in inspection order.

      • SFC D says:

        I’m not sure if your brush is too wide, but I can honestly tell you that your scenario fit me and many of my friends who retired about the same time (2012). We all had trouble slowing down after 10 years of Iraq and Afghanistan, didn’t know how to turn it off after years of being in charge of wide-eyed young troopies and fuzz-nutted 2LT’s. We all eventually figured things out, adapted, and adjusted. Not everyone can adjust like that. Funny thing is, all of us happily settled into good jobs where we are NOT in charge of anything, and we’re enjoying the lack of stress and responsibility. Doesn’t work for everyone, YMMV.

        • Dennis - not chevy says:

          That is why I tell my fellow retirees, “You’re not the boss unless you were hired to be the boss.” Don’t be the guy I saw on the bus; he’d taken all of his stripes and ribbons and other gadgets off his uniform, replaced his flight cap with a fedora, and went to work so dressed.
          As you said, “adapt and overcome”.

  8. Commissar says:

    I knew several soldiers and veterans who committed suicide over the last 40 years (and a few civilians). Not much linked them. Shame, loss of purpose, loss of income, loss of a sense of a future, loss of spouse/family, loss of professional standing. They had their reasons. I can’t think of any that had the same primary reason.

    I struggled with suicide. When I no longer could control the impulse I called the veteran hotline.

    I had been suicidal for a few years. Once your brain starts considering it as a solution it becomes wired to throw that into your decision making cycle every time you are dealing with something difficult to solve or overcome. The more that happens the more efficient your brain becomes offering that as a solution. Eventually it becomes harder to force yourself to think of other solutions. It becomes option 1 every time. Then seemingly the only viable option. Or at least the one that feels the most viable. It even feels good to think about.

    It is also hard to discuss this with people. If you do you put an incredible burden on people who care about you but are ill equipped or do not have the training to help you. Plus everyone, civilian or otherwise, is dealing with their own shit.

    If you talk to non-mental health professional in the public sector things get ramped up in a pointless direction. Cops get called, you risk a 5150. Which might buy you 72 hours but sure as shit is not going to fix whatever the hell is going on that has you in the place where your problem solving skills have devolved into self annihilation.

    I was pretty far down the road and had reached a point where I was pissed off at anyone who expressed any concern for me because I felt that they were making me feel like I owed them my continued existence. Like it would not be fair if I checked out.

    Ultimately, I was lucky. Not just because of how skilled the guy on the hotline was but because the referal led to an extremely competent mental health professional I am still working with two years later.

    I dealt with a hack in the past who has no business working with anyone contemplating suicide. This was early on when I first started thinking about it. I did not ask for help again for years. If my hotline call had led to a referral to an asshat like that I have no doubt I would have gone through with it.

    There are a ton of factors that lead to more suicidal thought and behaviors. Divorce, loss of a loved one, loss of income, loss of sense of self or purpose, certain drugs (even prescription), loss of mobility or ability to exercise effectively, some medical conditions, chronic pain, chronic illness, head injuries.., the list is substantial. And there are prior factors; genetic, family experiences during childhood, prior trauma, even something as common as being raised without a father is shown to lead to higher rates of suicide in teen and adult years.

    The fact is we don’t really understand everything that leads to the decision. Only that your brain actually becomes more efficient at reaching that conclusion and it becomes harder to do basic problem solving and even cope with things that someone might not have struggled with in the past.

    I don’t think it is a waste of research dollars to figure this all out.

    Though I think dollar for dollar making sure mental health professionals who deal with suicidal folks are well trained, qualified, and are not just disgruntled assholes is likely to money well spent as well.

    Though we can do both.

    • AnotherPat says:

      Commissar:

      I appreciate your open courage and candor on discussing this with us on this terrible disease.

      Glad to hear you found an extremely competent mental health professional to help you on this.

  9. Outcast says:

    Lots of thoughts going through brain here as to past and present but looking through the comments and not being an expert as is our resident person here, am not going to comment on subject as to the problems facing less than 85,000 out here as the subject has become a joke to many here on site. Is a worthless waste of time.

    • Dave Hardin says:

      There is nothing funny about suicide. The joke is the tens of thousands of organizations that exploit it to justify their own existence.

      Those of us that make a choice to end terminal illness on our own terms make up a large chunk of the so-called suicide numbers they are trying to prevent.

      If and when I have had enough pain from a terminal illness I don’t want some panty waste trying to do an intervention and then marking down my choice to depart this world as a preventable suicide.

      I worked in the treatment center at Camp Lejeune as one of only two certified counselors at the in-patient treatment center.

      22 a day is a joke, a sick joke and it’s used by vultures to pick on service of all veterans. We are spending millions upon millions to encourage people to seek help.

      Fact is some won’t. Fact is some shouldn’t. It is also a sad fact that a small minority of suicides are preventable.

  10. SFC D says:

    There are as many reasons for suicide as there are people on earth. Every instance is different. I don’t understand wanting to off yourself, I can’t even fathom the idea. At the same time, I won’t criticize or demean anyone with suicidal ideation, it always has to be taken seriously regardless of the reason. I’ve had to deal with two Soldier suicides and a nephew. No one has any clue as to why they made that decision. And usually no one knows they’re having suicidal thoughts until it’s too damn late.

  11. AnotherPat says:

    If you research First Responders and Suicide, you will find this interesting study conducted in 2017:

    “Study: Police Officers and Firefighters Are More Likely to Die by Suicide than in Line of Duty”

    https://rudermanfoundation.org/white_papers/police-officers-and-firefighters-are-more-likely-to-die-by-suicide-than-in-line-of-duty/

    If you research Doctors and Suicide, you will find this:

    “Healthcare Industry Takes On High Physician Suicide Rates, Mental Health Stigma”:

    https://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20180929/NEWS/180929901/healthcare-industry-takes-on-high-physician-suicide-rates-mental-health-stigma

    If you research Ministers, Pastors and Suicide, you will find this:

    “Why Are So Many Pastors Committing Suicide?”

    https://praisedc.com/1676312/why-are-so-many-pastors-committing-suicide/

    If you research Attorneys and Suicide, you will find this:

    “As Attorney Suicides Mount, a Survivor Speaks Out”

    https://www.law.com/americanlawyer/2018/11/12/as-attorney-suicides-mount-a-survivor-speaks-out/

    I can go on and on and on referencing Occupation and Suicide…

    • AW1Ed says:

      AP, you rang the bell with all your links, and wound up in moderation. Not a big deal for me, just keep in mind when you add a lot of links it may take a while for one of the Admins to approve it.

      • AnotherPat says:

        Thank You, Ed. That is why I stopped. My list would have been a lot longer to cover other aspects of life who tried or have committed suicide, to include Musicians, Actors, Chefs, Fashion Designers, Models, Painters, Authors, TV Personalities, Atheletes, politicians, male or female, young or old, Red, Yellow, Black and White, etc.etc.

        Being a Veteran is not unique when it comes to suicide. Somehow, it became a “Flavor of the Month” for jouralist to expend on.

        • aGrimm says:

          AP: “…Flavor of the Month”…
          More like flavor of the last 50 years. The anti-military types have gone from denigrating AD and veterans as being baby killers to using much more insidious memes to denigrate us. Journalists are overwhelmingly anti-military and push the “veterans are damaged” memes every chance they can get. As Dave Hardin points out, it is the carpetbaggers who are truly despicable.
          PS: good take and list on occupational suicides – thanks. I had not considered that angle.

        • NHSparky says:

          A lot of high stress fields have all the signs that lead to high suicide rates: high divorce rates, high alcoholism rates, etc.

    • Commissary says:

      Not every occupation.

      There is one striking thing that all of the occupations you listed have in common. All are on the list of top ten occupations with the highest percentage is sociopaths/psychopaths.

      It is striking because sociopaths commit suicide at a LOWER rate than the general population. (overall a lower rate but commit murder-suicide at a higher rate, though I suspect that many of under suicides are BPDs who also show signs of anti-social personality disorder)

      Also, we know that people who have close romantic, family, and business connections to sociopaths/psychopaths commit suicide at a higher rate than people who don’t.

      I wonder if the culture of occupations with unusually high numbers of sociopaths/psychopaths leads to self destructive impulses among non-sociopaths when they are dealing with a problem solving or social context that is shaped by prominent sociopaths in their occupation.

      I know that the last person I would go to to discuss suicidal thoughts is a commander, supervisor, or peer who demonstrated behavior that made me suspect they were a possible sociopath. Even if someone had no idea how to recognize when they are dealing with a possible sociopath they would almost certainly intuitively or instictively know reaching out to that person would not be helpful at all.

      • SFC D says:

        Sometimes, one has to follow their own path…

      • AnotherPat says:

        Commissary:

        Based on what you wrote, am guessing you either read or research Dr. Ken Duncan’s book.

        Folks, if you want to know if you are a pyschopath (based on Dr. Duncan’s study) please take Duncan’s Pyschopath Challenge:

        http://www.wisdomofpsychopaths.com

        Guess I failed. I am a Veteran…I took his “test”. I scored ZERO.

        Dr. Duncan also pointed out that teachers, nurses, aide workers, have the lowest potential of being a pyschopath, yet, teachers, nurses, aide workers also commit suicide.

        My point on previous comments is that too many suicidal studies are focused on a person’s occupation…and somehow, the headlines all read the same…that the numbers are increasing in each of these occupations.

        We may spend countless of $$$ trying to figure out why some people give up on life while others persevere and never know the real reason. So many factors have been idetified, ranging from a person’s genetic makeup to social interactions, religious beliefs, family background, etc. We should stay focus on those factors and IMHO, NOT on their occupation.

        None of us are perfect. We all have demons in our lives. Perhaps oneday, mental illness will no longer carry a stigma…and that those who are struggling can seek help without feeling inadequate or useless. We show compassion to those who seek help if they have cancer or have a stroke or a heart attack. We don’t think twice if someone asks for medical assistance when it comes to physical ailments, such as a common cold, the flu, diabetes or high blood pressure. Perhaps accepting and ackowledging those who struggle with mental impairment and showing more compassion may help save lives…that is, if a person really wants to save their own life.

  12. AnotherPat says:

    Once again, another article showing a picture of a “Veteran”, someone who looks as if he does not like barbers or shaving. The veteran is Robert Neilson, who was drafted in 1961 and served two years.

    This is the same article, but it was posted in December 2018 and has not only another picture of Neilson, but also of Ron Stark, the Navy Veteran. What a difference:

    “Most Veterans Who Kill Themselves Are 55 Or Older. The VA Is Trying to Learn Why.”

    https://www.tpr.org/post/most-veterans-who-kill-themselves-are-55-or-older-va-trying-learn-why

  13. AnotherPat says:

    Thank You, Ed. That is why I stopped. My list would have been a lot longer to cover other aspects of life who tried or have committed suicide, to include Musicians, Actors, Chefs, Fashion Designers, Models, Painters, Authors, TV Personalities, Atheletes, poloticians, male or female, young or old, Red, Yellow, Black and White, etc.etc.

    Being a Veteran is not unique when it comes to suicide. Somehow, it became a “Flavor of the Month” for jouralist to expend on.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Yeah, but APat, making a list like that clearly shows that it isn’t the occupation or the environment that is the problem. It’s the person’s perception of his issues. Something that isn’t so easy to point a finger at.

  14. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    To follow up on AnotherPat’s comment….

    Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.

    78% of all suicides are white males.

    47,173 suicides were recorded in 2017, or about 129 a day or about one every 11 minutes…

    1.4 million(estimated) Americans attempted suicide in 2017 or about 0.4% of the population.

    The cost of suicide and self harm in the US is somewhere near 70 billion dollars as recorded in 2015 economic data.

    If nothing else suicide highlights the reality of a society that still can’t reconcile mental illness as an actual illness as opposed to a personal failing of some sort. If you get appendicitis no one thinks you can get better with a change of attitude and some fresh air, but a lot of people think you can cure depression simply by going outside and exercising to change your perspective.

    That attitude costs people their lives, de-stigmatizing mental health treatment would go a long way towards saving some people’s lives. We all understand that our bodies will break down at times regardless of well we prep and condition it. We need to learn to extend that attitude to our minds as well.

    That’s uncomfortable territory because our brains are the core of who we are and considering that it might be ill has a very derogatory effect on our self image.

    Regarding taking yourself out in your old age because you don’t go want to go out pissing yourself and unable to move that’s already my plan should I get the terminal diagnosis.

    There are ways to do that though that involve adrenaline type activities and would be considered an accident, making insurance payouts easier for your surviving family members. If you blow your brains out it’s an obvious suicide….if you accidentally crash your car driving too fast, or fall off a cliff on your dirt bike out in the woods somewhere it’s a tragic accident while enjoying your leisure time activities.

  15. aGrimm says:

    Dave, I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment. The original “Suicide Data report, 2012” (Kemp and Bossarte) started the 22/day meme. Take notice that the 2012 Kemp report is not included in the references for the “VA National Suicide Report 2005-2016” and ’17/’18 updates ( to which you are referring in this article). I believe that the VA is deliberately obfuscating in the 2016/17/18 reports because the 2012 report clearly indicates (pp 14/15) there are huge limitations in the data collection. Page 19 of the 2012 report specifically states, “Therefore, estimates of the number of Veterans who have died from suicide each day based on proxy report of history of U.S. military service should be interpreted with caution.” It is a credit to Kemp and Bossarte that they said this. The 2016/17/18 reports ignore this and do not tell us how the data was collected. The 2016/17/18 are classic fun with statistics obfuscation.

    I get pretty pissed at the 22/day meme because I’ve studied the reports thoroughly and recognize that there are some major problems with the meme, yet it persists. It persists because it is a insidious way to denigrate veterans. I can go on all day about the reports, but I don’t want to get into too much math because of the Army folks who visit here.

  16. 26Limabeans says:

    “If you blow your brains out it’s an obvious suicide….if you accidentally crash your car driving too fast, or fall off a cliff on your dirt bike out in the woods somewhere it’s a tragic accident while enjoying your leisure time activities”

    Sooooo which stat did the VA put Bernasty into?

  17. Outcast says:

    Suicide is an escape from overwhelming PTSD (30%) as well as the death sentence from Agent Orange (?). Besides eating a gun you have overdosing on a combination of pills and drugs (once, failed), overdosing on pills and alcohol and driving car resulting in wreck (once, failed, 3 day coma in ICU, 3 week stay in psych unit, Pinto cars are not designed to jump ditches). At one time many years ago basis of statistics were based on different groups of society and at the time of that report VNV were #1 in Suicide, #1 in prison population, #1 in Divorce and do not believe there was a homeless statistic back then. Now many who have had possibly a few episodes as to PTSD due to being employed and mind was usually 24/7 on job one worked at, due to no longer being employed (retired for many), inner workings of the brain is bringing long buried memories of the past and in many cases the main question that comes up is why was he the one KIA and not me or the big one is wondering if in the performance of your job as air, ground, and other support for those in the major battles, there was something you could have done that might have saved more lives (Ken, Barry, both KIA) or saved them from the horror they faced (Danny, WIA disabled, Bud Day, POW).

    • 26Limabeans says:

      My mom had a Pinto. I didn’t try to wreck it but I damn sure beat the hell out of it.
      It had A/C. Car would slow down everytime the compressor kicked in. On a hot summer day I would just leave the tranny in LOW and wind the piss out of it. It was Blue.
      A real Viet of the Nam vet stole it while idling at a gas station. Got caught and the judge sent him to Bridgewater for evaluation because he was obviously a crazy Viet of the Nam vet. He later jumped from the 5th floor to his death. He is listed on the town memorial as a casualty of the Viet of the Nam War. I don’t like that.

      My sister later wrecked the Pinto. Good.

      • Commissar says:

        I am in no way arguing that the individual you described should be on your town’s memorial…

        However, I do understand how a suicide can feel directly connected to overseas service.

        A buddy I deployed with was a fantastic soldier and did multiple deployments.

        He came back from his very last deployment to severe marital problems, divorce, and a custody battle.

        Within a year the military began to see him as a non-performer because of his deep depression and its impact on his performance.

        This was a soldier that had been previously respected by all. Exemplary soldier. Easily a sergeant major someday.

        Subsequent commanders, who had no knowledge of how much he previously excelled as a soldier, continued to focus negative attention on him in the way only the indifferent institutional grind of big army can.

        He stood to lose everything he loved. His children, his family, his home, his military career…

        Then his military service was used against him by a shitbag divorce lawyer who argued that his service and extended absences from deployments are one of the reasons he should not have custody.

        He didn’t make it.

        The only memorial with his name on it is a grave marker and he will never be listed in any official record as a casualty of war.

        I don’t know anyone that deployed with him that does not regard him as a deployment casualty.

  18. Perry Gaskill says:

    One of the stories I’ve been following lately is that of Marine Lt. Matthew Kraft, who was stationed at Camp Pendleton and went on a mid-winter hiking trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Starting Feb. 23, Kraft left his jeep at a campground near Independence, and apparently planned to trek 130 miles north to Bridgeport.

    Those familiar with the area, it’s generally up on the other side of the Yosemite Valley, would likely tell you that it’s some of the most rugged country in North America. Parts of the Sierras have also recently gotten as much as 11 feet of snow in four hours this season. There have also been multiple serious incidents of avalanche.

    Although it might be possible to chalk Kraft’s story up as one of a jarhead testing extreme sports, it can also make you wonder what kind of death wish would make somebody venture out in such conditions alone, and without the apparent benefit of a satellite phone or EPIRB.

    • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

      Sort of follows my theory of accidental death for insurance purposes…dying during a hiking trip doesn’t invalidate insurance policies typically. Also your wife, kids, parents, and siblings don’t find your body.

    • rgr769 says:

      Hikers will likely find his remains this summer, or not. Any person who would undertake such a trip this winter, alone, obviously has seriously impaired judgment in managing risk. He certainly should not be in command of other Marines in combat. Managing risk is a critical skill for those leading others in combat or flying aircraft. Screw up that skill and people die.

  19. ArmyATC says:

    What is so infuriating to me about this is that it’s been known for 10-15 years or more that older veterans are more prone to suicide. But it didn’t fit the “veterans are victims” narrative – poor young GWOT veteran so traumatized by war and military service – that gave rise to the useless and – to me – fraudulent “22” movement.

    • Commissar says:

      You know that the public attention to the “fraudulent” 22 movement led to VA changes, program funding, resources, and better mental health care that help ALL veterans who seek help or are found to need help. Not just young veterans…

      You know that right?

      And older veterans also fit the narrative and were included in both the stats and the 22 movement discussion.

      • aGrimm says:

        Commisssar: You know that the latest report says the suicide rates are going up? Please explain just when are all the VA programs and “help”organizations, that sprung up with the 22/day meme, going to begin to reduce the rates? A LOT of money went into these programs, and it is obvious they have prevented few suicides.

        Read the original 2012 report by Kemp and Bosserte. Because of severe limitations in the data collection, the older vet data should be used with caution (their words). Otherwise, the 2012 report clearly states that below the age of 55, veterans have a lower rate of suicide.

  20. Outcast says:

    55 and older Vet’s, older vets, interesting as last 2 casualties of Vietnam were 22 and 19, 55yo in 2012 would have been 18. So this tells me that there was real extensive research as to the still on going hatred for VNV by many and still today. Am sure when checking with vets that served between 1956 and 1975 for statistics it was done more with the ones that were never in Vietnam as opposed those that served in Vietnam. Also statistics would be even more different if they included attempted suicides in them. They also missed a bunch as to suicides and such as in the past there were and most likely still are more VNV not belonging to VFW, Legion or in the VA system, which is most likely where they got their data and is also old round file 13 that is real handy for some of the data they collected. What seems like the best treatment for PTSD by the VA is pills that make you sleep a lot, suicide easy that way, take all the pills at once. Uh no thanks, tried twice but now have 3 great grand sons and want to watch them grow as well as want to see how bad the Govt gets screwed up. Clean and sober and use what have learned to handle it. Thunder and fire works, find something to do and flinch a lot as will pass soon. Anxiety in crowded areas. keep moving and if in store find empty aisle or go where you find interest as to self while other’s with you shop, mainly get away from crowd and go where you feel safer. Lightening, find dark area and close blinds as reduces visual observation of it, flinch if you occasionally do see it, Anger, find place to get away, going for walk, take a drive alone, sit in peaceful park, from situation that is causing it so can work it out in mind and settle back down, before returning. Pills and sleep are just a temporary escape from the reality that will still be there when you wake up, deal and learn how to deal with reality as it is always there. What it boils down to is, I don’t have a college education, books and magazines are for reading pleasure and peace of mind on subjects I am interested in. The world is still turning and still evolving and is not all peaches and cream, but it is nice to sit back once and awhile and just watch, Wonder if that fella riding his bike going by without his hands on the handle bars is going to crash and burn down the street somewhere, 1951 penny in pocket, hm wonder where it has been, JFK’s pocket, in someones pocket in Paris, Rome, Vietnam(?????). Maybe boring to many but was lots of tranquility and memories for Dad and now me, wonder if dad had this one in his pocket? BYE.

    • AnotherPat says:

      Outcast, you wrote:

      “So this tells me that there was real extensive research as to the still on going hatred for VNV by many and still today.”

      ???????..🤔

      • Outcast says:

        An, I haven’t been to DC and if I do go it will be on my terms but in the past I have been to several mobile wall exhibits and yes have been thanked by many as to service and of course if you look in their eyes, those born after it was over show some sincerity but you can see they do not really apprehend what VNV’s went through as well as others were very young during it, Vets that were there often are almost tear full when you greet each other as do some who have some connection with a VNV. What I also saw was those that avoided the war in one way or other that are usually in with a bunch of others of their type that, in a self serving show to others in the group, come and shake your hand and thank you for your service with no feeling in their voice or sincerity in their eyes, you know it is just a show put on for the others. Go to any large store and watch someone with a VNV hat or shirt and how he walks around the store very seldom greeted by anyone, unless it is another VNV, course with all the stolen valor and the availability of hats and shirts for sale, anyone can wear them, so one can never be sure. Usually he is left with space around him as he moves through the store. Yes I have shirts and hats here but seldom wear them for the simple fact that even out here (pop. 14,000 in town and surrounding area) we seem to have a couple here in town, 1 showed up on Memorial day in uniform one time with enough metal on his chest to sink a ship, but age was very questionable as was the other one wondering around. Was a bunch of us who were VNV Vets wondering but was not the place or time to check out. Can’t recalling seeing them since that one time.

        • AnotherPat says:

          Thank you, Outcast, for answering my inquiry.

          Have seen alot of folks wear “Vietnam Vet” or “Korean War Vet” as well as “WWII Vet” Ball caps or Jackets. Too many of them for me to personally take the time to address each one of them to say “Thank You For Serving Our Country”.

          You addressed folks being born after Vietnam perhaps not showing appreciation. Perhaps your perception may be inaccurate. I was born after WWII and Korean War, but was exposed to those Veterans growing up…and did not think anything about acknowledging or praising them. My family and extended family to include my Dad and Uncles all served either in theater in either WWII, Korea or Vietnam….and I never personally acknowlege it to them. They knew I knew of their service.

          I now have another extended family to include children, in-laws, etc. They know of my service, but we don’t talk about it unless they ask. I know they know…and I know they are proud.

          Have to admit was taken back by your perception that you possibly think there is “still an ongoing hatred for Vietnam Vets”. I am old enough to remember the protests in the 60s and the 70s, but I never personally encountered that”hatred” that you speak of. Maybe I lived in a Bubble..

          Truly hope that oneday you will find peace…and that you reflect a positive outlook on your service for your Great-Grandkids to see. They are your Legacy…

          Thank You for serving our Country. I say that out of sincerity and not sarcasm. Hang in there.

          • Outcast says:

            AP, Thank you. To clarify what I said in short was “showed some sincerity but did not apprehend” they didn’t apprehend what we went through, so therefor their show of some sincerity was their showing their appreciation. when we were younger we also did not understand what WWI, WWII or those who served in Korea went through but after going through what we have in our past we now further understand what they did go through and can better relate to them then those who never served. I can also understand some of what one family friend went through as he fought in WWI and was exposed to mustard gas whereas I was on one of 3 major AO hot spot AB’s that are still active as to AO today.

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