– Widow: After 8 deployments, Army Ranger takes own life (KOMO NEWS, Aug 12, 2011):
JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. – A soldier’s widow says his fellow Army Rangers wouldn’t do anything to help him before he took his own life – after eight deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Army found Staff Sgt. Jared Hagemann’s body at a training area of Joint Base Lewis McChord a few weeks ago.
A spokesman for the base tells KOMO News that the nature of the death is still undetermined. But Staff Sgt. Hagemann’s widow says her husband took his own life – and it didn’t need to happen.
“It was just horrible. And he would just cry,” says Ashley Hagemann.
Ashley says her husband Jared tried to come to grips with what he’d seen and done on his eight deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“And there’s no way that any God would forgive him – that he was going to hell,” says Ashley. “He couldn’t live with that any more.”
Ashley says her Army Ranger husband wanted out of the military.
“He just wanted to know what it felt like to be normal again,” she says.
Staff Sgt. Hagemann had orders to return to Afghanistan this month for a ninth tour of duty.
Instead, on June 28, Ashley says her husband took a gun and shot himself in the head on base. She claims the Rangers never took his pleas for help seriously.
“There’s no way that they should not have been able to pick up on it,” Ashley says. “When he’s telling them, he’s reaching out ….”
And on Friday she found out she’s not alone in wanting to speak out.
Mary Corkhill Kirkland lost her son Derrick to suicide more than a year ago.
She says doctors at Madigan Army Hospital considered him a low risk for suicide despite three earlier attempts. They sent him back to his unit – where he hanged himself.
Mary says she thinks the Army absically killed her son.
“My son did not want to die. He wanted help. He was crying out for help,” she says.
Now Mary Kirkland is reaching out to Ashley Hagemann in her grief.
“You’re in good hands, you’re not alone here,” Mary tells her.
“It’s so nice to meet somebody else who understands,” says Ashley. “Thank you so much.”
KOMO News has contacted the 75th Ranger Regiment about Hagemann, but there is no comment as yet.
The two women are joining forces with several veterans and active-duty soldiers to speak out about what happened with Sgt. Kirkland – and what’s being done to prevent further soldier suicides.