Defense News

Army investigating suspected suicides of three Fort Drum soldiers

By Daniel Uria   |   Sept. 29, 2021 at 10:07 PM
The U.S. Army is investigating the suspected suicides of three soldiers based at New York's Fort Drum. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Sept. 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army is investigating the suspected suicides of three soldiers who died within a span of 72 hours earlier this month.

All three soldiers belonged to the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum in upstate New York, which described the deaths in a statement as "isolated and unconnected self-harm incidents."

The soldiers were identified by Army Times as Staff Sgt. Angel Green, 24; Pfc. Tyler Thomas, 21; and Spc. Sika Tapueluelu, 26. All three soldiers were assigned to different units on the base.

"Immediately when we have a situation when a soldier is suspected of taking their own life, we want to know the trigger," Maj. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr., 10th Mountain commander, told Army Times. "What are the underlying challenges that contributed to the decision to harm themselves? We want to know we didn't catch? What are we missing? This is what our immediate focus is."

Green, an infantryman from Barstow, Calif., served in Afghanistan twice and had just returned from his latest deployment on Sept. 6 as thousands of U.S. troops were withdrawn from the country while the Taliban seized control. Officials don't believe his deployment was a primary reason for his death.

Thomas was a signal support system specialist from Cedar Hill, Texas, and Tapueluelu was a cannon crewmember from Tukwila, Wash.

The deaths came as Fort Drum has highlighted suicide-prevention resources for servicemembers throughout the month of September.

"In trying times like these it is incumbent upon us all to reach out to your battle body. Make sure they are OK," Beagle said in a statement.