Soldiers angry, say social media post mocks suicide

Soldiers say social media post mocks suicide

SAN ANTONIO - Soldiers at Brooke Army Medical Center's Warrior Transition Battalion are angry after they claim a senior enlisted leader posted a picture to social media that they believe mocks suicide.

The Warrior Transition Battalion helps injured and wounded soldiers transition back to their units or to civilian life.

A former soldier who used to work there told KENS 5 he believes the issue was swept under the rug. Many of the soldiers who are upset over these pictures don't want to be identified because they said they don't want to jeopardize their careers.

The picture that was allegedly posted by a senior enlisted leader at BAMC's Warrior Transition Battalion shows a snowman hanging from a ceiling.

"It's very disturbing, insensitive and childish. Somebody needs help. Anybody contemplating suicide, they don't need to see this. It's going to push them over the edge," said John Ornelaz, commander of VFW Post 76 and Army veteran. 

Army veterans from VFW Post 76 said they are disturbed by the picture and want to speak out for their fellow active duty soldiers who are afraid to talk about it publicly. 

"It hurts me, and it upsets me because there are services out there to help soldiers," said Richard Valenzuela III, an Army veteran. 

One former soldier shared his concerns on JBSA's Facebook page. He said JBSA responded to his post last week saying that they take this seriously and will work to ensure that the information is passed to the correct leadership.

Since then, he said that post and the picture have been taken off JBSA's Facebook page. 

"We're losing 22 soldiers a day to suicide, and the last thing we need as veterans is to have this posted," said Ornelaz. 

Brooke Army Medical Center released the following statement to KENS 5:

"Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) has been made aware of the Facebook postings and associated allegations regarding a Warrior Transition Battalion senior noncommissioned officer.

The matter has been elevated to the appropriate level of authority within the organization, and the social media post has been removed.  BAMC takes all allegations seriously, and an investigation is pending."

© 2017 KENS-TV


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