Military defense bill nears approval

A sign on Route 11 northbound welcomes people to the main entrance to Fort Drum. Watertown Daily Times

FORT DRUM — Army officials on Sunday announced the suspected suicides of three 10th Mountain Division soldiers within the last 72 hours.

In a media release sent Sunday morning, division officials said the three soldiers died in “isolated and unconnected incidents of suspected self-harm.” Officials stressed there is no danger to the public.

Fort Drum officials said more details will not be provided at this time to protect the integrity of the investigations into the deaths, and to allow time for the families of the deceased to be informed.

“(Command Sergeant Major Mario O.) Terenas and I ask you all to keep the families of the soldiers in your prayers during this difficult time and allow them the time to process their loss of a loved one,” said Maj. Gen. Milford H. Beagle, Jr., 10th Mountain Division Commander, in a statement announcing the deaths.

“In trying times like these, it is incumbent upon us all to reach out to your battle buddy. Make sure they are OK.”

Maj. Gen. Beagle said he has spoken with command teams and will gather the entirety of the 10th Mountain Division on Monday to address the warning signs for those potentially at risk of suicide, improve the soldiers’ understanding of what suicidal thoughts can feel and look like, and share coping mechanisms.

“To the soldiers of Fort Drum, the 10th Mountain Divisions and our entire Army, I want you to know every life is worth living!,” the major general said. “Your life because you are a teammate, your life because you are (a) mountain tough soldier. If you have problems, challenges or issues there is help available from this chain of command all the way down to help you get the resources you need. Do not suffer in silence.”

Since he assumed command of Fort Drum this summer, Gen. Beagle has stressed several times to soldiers to look out for each other and make sure their colleagues were doing OK. He’s also told soldiers that the Army stresses the importance of people who are serving.

September is Army Suicide Awareness Month, and in a video message shared Saturday, Maj. Gen. Beagle and CSM Terenas urged all Army soldiers to keep in touch with one another, seek help when they need it, share their struggles and get to know one another.

The two Fort Drum leaders also urged anyone struggling with thoughts of suicide or self harm to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Times staff writer Craig Fox contributed to this report.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

I write about north country politics, Jefferson County and the northern shoreline towns of Lyme, Cape Vincent, Clayton and Alexandria Bay

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