Fort Campbell holds 'suicide stand-down'

May 27, 2009 at 3:53 PM
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FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., May 27 (UPI) -- Fort Campbell, Ky., home to the U.S. 101st Airborne, began a three-day 'suicide stand-down' Wednesday after 11 soldiers took their own lives this year.

The "training event" is the second one in 2009, CNN reported. It began with a speech from Brig. Gen. Stephen Townsend to all the enlisted men and officers in the division, Kelly Tyler, a spokeswoman said.

"His intent was to be able to look them in the eye and make them aware that everyone cares about the issue, and make sure they know -- corporal to general -- what help is available, to make sure that people know we want them to keep living," she said.

With 64 suicides so far in 2009, the U.S. Army appears likely to pass the record of 133 reported last year. There were 115 suicides in 2007, the highest number since the Defense Department began tracking military suicides in 1980.

Fort Campbell, which straddles the Kentucky-Tennessee line south of Paducah, Ky., has reported more suicides this year than any other base.

Experts say the stress of repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan is taking a toll on soldiers. The Marine Corps has also seen increases in suicides.

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