The Fayetteville Observer says there has been a surge in violent behavior and suicides among Fort Bragg soldiers and combat veterans in recent months. The paper says many of the soldiers suffer from depression, PTSD and other mental health problems brought on by the stresses of war and multiple deployments. Fayetteville police Sgt. Steven Bates said he has seen the increase in violence firsthand. “Absolutely,” said Bates, who was a hostage negotiator during one incident. “It’s a statistical fact.”
During a speech last week to members of the 18th Airborne Corps headquarters who returned to Fort Bragg after concluding the mission in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick cited concerns. He said that six Fort Bragg soldiers had committed suicide in the past six weeks, and that there were at least 25 cases of spousal abuse at the installation in the past 30 days. “We have got to stop the violence,” Helmick told an estimated 14,000 troops. He urged soldiers to take advantage of Army mental health services and to realize there is no stigma attached to getting help.