The Psychological Toll of War at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

A local veterans group calls it “a base on the brink”:

Over the last two years, an Iraq veteran pleaded guilty to assault after being accused of waterboarding his 7-year-old foster son in the bathtub. Another was accused of pouring lighter fluid over his wife and setting her on fire; one was charged with torturing his 4-year-old daughter for refusing to say her ABCs. A Stryker Brigade soldier was convicted of the kidnap, torture and rape or attempted rape of two women, one of whom he shocked with cables attached to a car battery; and an Iraq war sergeant was convicted of strangling his wife and hiding her body in a storage bin.

In April, 38-year-old combat medic David Stewart, who had been under treatment for depression, paranoia and sleeplessness, led police on a high-speed chase down Interstate 5 before crashing into a barrier. As officers watched, he shot himself in the head. His wife, a nurse, was found in the car with him, also shot to death. Police later found the body of their 5-year-old son in the family home.

“I can tell you that in the last two years, we have had 24 instances in which we contacted soldiers who were armed with weapons,” said Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar. “We’ve had intimidation, stalking with a weapon, aggravated assault, domestic violence, drive-bys.”

via Stars and Stripes.

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