JBLM medic's suicide shows brutal combat tour never ended for some - TheNewsTribune.com

Cory Jenkins, Sgt. 27, 2009: Sgt. That They done a vintage vehicle together. Any number of incidents pushed him past his breaking point.

In the five-years since the actual 1-17 came home, any disturbing operate involving a minimal of eight stateside deaths offers rattled its veterans as well as reminded these people the deployment hasn't ended for most of them.

Aug. said. "The worst thing a new medic can easily hear following that's dead silence."

His arrest tomorrow set in motion an Army disciplinary method that would end in his expulsion from the military.

Back then, Kirker decided to enlist because he wanted "to just take proper treatment of soldiers" instead regarding the drug addicts he informed Cindy he would often meet on the job.

The Washington state Department regarding Veterans Affairs provides counseling and a listing of various other regional resources. Tyler Walshe, Spc. I nonetheless have things to function out."

The 2nd incident happened last summer, when he contracted the flesh-eating bacteria throughout a hip surgery from Madigan Army Health-related Center.

In many ways, he by zero means would.

Aug. An Army spokesman informed the News Tribune he couldn't comment on the discipline. Their Particular names and the dates these folks were killed:

After Sawyer's death, Cindy Kirker said, your ex husband made a point to continue as much missions while he could. Their Particular daughter had reached out to him more than the wintertime to invite him for you to the woman's senior substantial school graduation. Cory Jenkins, Sgt. He wept more than the particular soldier he attemptedto talk from enlisting. Kevin Graham

The healthcare records his fiancee showed This News Tribune also indicate that will doctors recognized his PTSD had been exacerbated by simply his military service. John Hallett, Capt. Anyone do not want to complete this."


In what precisely is believed to be his first suicide attempt, Kirker raised the gun to kill himself in July 2011. Inside November, his garage was neat, when I observed that, I thought he turned any corner; he's coming back."

"That sounded precisely as an IED blast," Kirker later informed his ex-wife. James Roger Kirker didn't thoughts the actual boom of the ceremonial cannon with a Joint Base Lewis-McChord Memorial Day celebration five-years ago. Its behavioral well being sources are detailed with www.mamc.amedd.army.mil/clinical/behavioral-health. It's certainly not obvious whether he actually could have lost his benefits as well as been subjected to the punitive discharge.

Worse, Kirker convinced himself he'd become punished using a dishonorable discharge that will deny him the veterans benefits he had earned by serving inside Afghanistan.

As the particular months wore on, Kirker joined the actual battalion throughout fighting alongside Marines within Helmand province. Anthony Paci

The Army reassigned him to a clinic with Madigan Army Healthcare Center, in which usually a co-worker named Lanaye Bergren caught his eye.

Kirker had attemptedto fight his discharge, creating for an officer which his post-war healthcare struggles along with stress via his divorce that year had left him feeling worthless. The idea was your silence that followed he couldn't stand.

He left your ex inside seven several weeks involving returning from the war, moving for an apartment in Steilacoom because, he said, "I don't want my kids to determine me just how I am. He told Cindy and also later Bergren which he shot an innocent boy during a shootout with insurgents.

It was a startling attack that will destroyed a new 20-ton Stryker and also claimed the actual lives of your business commander as well as the 1-17's best doctor.

Kirker didn't reply to a text the lady sent him when the lady woke up. 21, 2009: Spc. Coming From Bergren's standpoint, Cindy as well as the kids had pushed the soldier far from them.

The healthcare document also included a characterization involving Kirker's http://wcdem2013.org PTSD that will would have lasting consequences right after his burglary arrest inside 2014.

The very first started in April, when Thurston County sheriff's deputies discovered him carrying the neighbor's pistol just after getting a woman had reported the burglary. He didn't want to keep your ex awake.


"I'm still holding my breath thinking who is going to be next," Francheska Brinkley, any spouse of the 1-17 veteran, wrote on Facebook as news associated with Kirker's death spread.

Kirker, 42, served in the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment -- the unit that suffered more fatal casualties within the Afghanistan war than any other comparable Army force. Dale Griffin, Sgt. 17, 2009: Spc.

They had lunch together inside December 2010, Bergren said. He felt disregarded by simply his leaders, too, as they believed they were not really giving him productive perform that might aid him recover.

The Kirkers and Sawyers had grown shut before the deployment. Gary Gooch

Soldiers Project Northwest can end up being a group regarding mental medical researchers inside the Puget sound region whom volunteer time along with power to meet together with troops along with veterans. Bergren mentioned the girl wrestled the gun away from him.

Oct. Regarding more information, go to www.dva.wa.gov/benefits/counseling.

Bergren nowadays even now sounds appalled that an Army physician would label Kirker's PTSD like a pre-existing issue when just about all of his signs centered on his memories involving Afghanistan.

"I believe a variety of the blame lies along with my command," he wrote.

"You is simply in any position to trudge by means of mud therefore long," the girl said regarding Kirker's extended bout along with PTSD. It has been his sixth try to finish his life, his household said.

Twenty-two soldiers via Joint Base Lewis-McChord's 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment were killed throughout Afghanistan during their own 2009-10 deployment. Kyle Coumas

In March 2014, yet another veteran with the deployment was shot to death by simply police within his university place apartment. John Hallett III, Capt. Patrick Williamson

March 4, 2010: Sgt. Kirker felt pain throughout his leg along with hip as he recovered via his surgical infection, but the loved ones created accommodations regarding him.

Kirker, Cindy as well as their a pair of kids transferred to Fort Lewis your next year to join a new Army Stryker brigade building up for a deployment to war.


The invisible wounds that would plague Kirker for the extended time began having a mission he missed in Aug. That They noted that he was turning into combative with leadership, including arguments using a command sergeant major within public.

A health-related record attached for the evaluation exhibits Kirker was having nightmares along with avoiding people who reminded him associated with Afghanistan.

It concluded that will his PTSD predated his military service. produced an additional trip back towards the Northwest regarding his son's funeral inside Tumwater. Jordan Brochu, Spc. Also Cindy, who mourned the person the girl husband had become following the war, believed Kirker had been obtaining better. 25, 2009: Capt. 18, 2009: Sgt. That sounded as if he planned for you to go.

"Those guys were harm bad," he said. With Regard To the really first in time his life, he soon started lacking events together with his kids. "When I has been there in July, his garage was a total mess. Dennis Williams.

"He saved my life," said Jeremiah Butts involving Utah, a new former Army specialist that credits Kirker with trying to keep him alive right after an explosion.

His father, James Kirker Sr., a new veteran of a couple of combat tours within Vietnam, took his son aside for a frank talk about war.

The medic that joined the actual Army at age 34 since he explained he wanted "to consider good treatment of soldiers" killed himself this year, in March. With the actual time, both had been married however anticipating separations from their spouses. "Tell Sarah I'm sorry," he said, referring in order to Sawyer's wife.

He couldn't walk upstairs comfortably or even do significantly of the yardwork which sometimes eased his mind, he wrote four weeks in your past in the list of ailments that the News Tribune reviewed.

On the evening before he killed himself, he visited Bergren inside their bedroom however shared using her he ended up being feeling restless. 31, 2009: Pfc. Because Cindy observed it, the girl husband had abandoned the woman's and their teenagers using Bergren's help. Kirker didn't admit in order to breaking into the house when deputies detained him within the woods nearby, but he told officers he "wanted for you to finish the ideas in his head," based on police records. He invested weeks in Madigan recovering along with emerged along with more serious pain than the original injury which brought him to the operating room.. That lost 22 soldiers while searching for Taliban insurgents in 2009-10 just because the U.S. Pertaining To more information, go to www.thesoldiersproject.org or call in (877) 576-5343.

His suicide was the latest tragedy to befall a bunch of veterans and also Army households who have shared way as well many deaths given that will they achieved with JBLM inside the buildup into a fateful tour throughout Afghanistan.

To a medic newly home through Afghanistan, a blast meant any close friend could be hurt however rescued.

Sgt. Issac Jackson, Spc.

It drove any wedge among Kirker and the family. call for an appointment with (800) 404-4506.

He wrote to always be able to the News Tribune inside February, charging which his surgical infection ended up being being "swept under the carpet." Madigan officials wouldn't tell him whether it absolutely was investigating what caused his necrotizing fasciitis.

It was signed within November 2014 by simply former Madigan Commander Col. Roger Scherf, who had been killed in a Spanaway auto accident within March 2011. "We just had a brutal deployment."

On which stop by at his son's Yelm house throughout November 2014, the particular younger Kirker looked relaxed in a approach he hadn't inside years. Jared Stanker, Pfc. believed your medic would recover in the war.

It cited incidents from his combat deployment since the reason behind his anguish -- his guilt with regard to missing the mission which killed Sawyer, his close coverage to become able to multiple explosions, as well as the shootout exactly where he killed your Afghan boy.

Some discussed overcoming their own suicidal thoughts; other people offered an ear as well as assist locating a new occupation in order to anyone that needed a new lift.

Sawyer, restless to be able to carry on a new mission, took Kirker's spot.

But powering your scenes, Kirker stored battling with the Army over his pending discharge and also treatment method in Madigan.

The initial for you to die after the war ended up being Cpl. Sawyer has been the battalion senior enlisted medic; Kirker had been one of his guys.

Their relationship developed considerably faster compared in order to what they intended.

"It's scary simply because a new great deal of guys are usually depressed," stated Derek MacDougall, 26, a new 1-17 veteran who founded the actual social media support group to aid pals reconnect. 25, 2009.

He seemed troubled nearly as soon he returned in the war, avoiding family along with buddies whom reminded him of Afghanistan.

Disciplinary documents obtained by simply the News Tribune reveal that Madigan had moved forward having an "other than honorable" discharge that could have got resulted inside a loss associated with benefits. Jonathan Yanney

On that day in Afghanistan, the buried bomb killed Capt. "And he just finally mentally, emotionally as well as actually had muscle failure."


This wasn't the future Kirker imagined for himself and his loved ones when he left his career as a civilian paramedic within Ohio to participate the Army throughout 2006 in the height of the Iraq War.

It has been the second moment that might haunt Kirker after his homecoming. You're likely to get to complete items that tend to be unnatural in order to you. Troy Tom, Pfc. she walked for the garage, exactly where she discovered a new suicide note and his awesome body, hanging.


News regarding Kirker's death early March 23 rocked the soldiers whom served together with him in Afghanistan. Fernando De La Rosa, Sgt. A New assistance group regarding 1-17 veterans lit up immediately.

Kirker Sr. The idea implies the fallen soldier could not answer comrades operating to always be able to help.

Madigan would not remark in Kirker's infection. He mentioned he planned to end up being able to mess around within the garage. He made it happen with a disciplinary discharge looming more than his Army career.

Sept. Michael Dahl Jr

Kirker killed himself while coping using grinding pain from the surgical infection he developed in Madigan Army medical Center. "Sadly, that's how I believe any large amount of individuals felt throughout which deployment, not necessarily if along with when, but who's next? Because if death was inevitable to those strong, youthful noble men."


That James Roger Kirker took his or your ex own lifestyle didn't surprise the folks which knew him well.

"I chose coming house to anyone personally instead of saving which kid," he informed Cindy.


Three a prolonged time after Kirker came home from Afghanistan, Army leaders wanted him out in the military.

Necrotizing fasciitis ate away with his leg muscle. Christopher Walz, Sgt. Your Army officially determined he incurred it throughout his perform as a civilian paramedic prior to he joined the actual Army inside 2006.

But the particular younger Kirker "always returned having a much better argument" supporting his decision to enlist.

"He ended up being often an extremely neat and also organized person," Kirker Sr. Jonathan Welch

""He very much held issues within his heart, and that he wasn't able to let go," she said.


The last time he noticed his son alive, James Kirker Sr. military began to flourish its forces for the reason that war.

Back home, Cindy learned in regards to the attack from a telephone message your ex husband left. He'd be also assigned for you to Madigan's around-the-clock monitoring mental health ward, referred in order to as five North.


Kirker's descent accelerated within the spring and also summer involving 2014. they shared memories involving Doc Kirker working to keep these alive.

He left the memorial services that day and failed to rejoin his family.

Over time, he'd become committed twice into a post-traumatic strain along with alcohol abuse program inside Portland. Aaron Aamot, Spc. He regretted certainly not risking his or even the girl own existence in the shootout in order to pull the particular boy to safety.

Over any six-pack, the particular father told his son: "You're planning to see, listen to and smell issues you're never likely to forget.

Tacoma Vet center is a VA program that will puts counselors out in communities. He checked out the particular young men from your 1-17 who shared his grief along with observed his son's struggles.

Oct. Brian McLeod reportedly answered the doorway using a shotgun throughout hand following a struggle using a buddy in the 1-17 prompted neighbors to call police.

Current military service members as well as military retirees could access programs at Madigan Army Healthcare Center. Dennis Williams

Nov. "Some regarding the things they want to deal with -- they've created excellent decisions -- however the baggage that they bring back will be unbelievable."

The diagnosis meant Kirker may not be qualified for certain legal protections. These People mentioned they'd carry on a new real date 3 years later.

Radio silence is worse. 1st Class Luis Gonzalez, Sgt. This can end up being reached at (253) 565-7038.

His death ripped open your scars when more.

Kirker took his life just before his case had concluded. Ramona Fiorey to become able to discipline Kirker for that April burglary arrest as well as for his failure to demonstrate as much as perform a few days within early 2014. 1st Class Ronald Sawyer, Pfc. The Particular military is actually generally prohibited coming from giving punitive discharges to become able to soldiers who rebel after developing mental health problems from publicity in order to combat.

Cindy Kirker, his wife since grow older 20, noticed that he'd confuse memories involving their particular youth inside southwest Ohio. 26, 2009: Spc. 5, 2009: Spc. Bergren filed the grievance in which triggered an investigation from the agency charged with accrediting the particular hospital, and an unannounced inspection in the hospital on Could 27.

Aug. That Will means he nevertheless may well have been in any position to fight for any neutral discharge that would allow him to always be able to retain his benefits.

Oct. Inside Afghanistan, Scherf had survived a bomb that will killed seven some other soldiers inside their 20-ton Stryker.

Kirker believed he should have been about the mission using Hallett delivering humanitarian help and achieving for you to recognize certainly 1 of the villages they'd be patrolling.

If he had just about any hesitancy with regards to enlisting, a cousin's death inside the Iraq War took it away, mentioned Cindy Kirker.

Officers wrote in a July 2013 performance evaluation which his PTSD had been interfering together together with his work. 1st Class Ron Sawyer as well as Spc

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