When his hometown newspaper published his obituary, it said that Jared Hagemann, 25, had "passed away unexpectedly while he was on duty at Ft. Lewis."[1]  --  The truth, as revealed in moving videotaped testimony by his widow, is that the suicide of Jared Hagemann, an Army Ranger, was anything but unexpected.  --  "He said he was going to kill himself," Ashley Joppa-Hagemann said at a public forum in August.[2]  --  She said that because of his experience in the Army Rangers she saw him "every single day, waking up, telling me, 'I hate myself, I hate my job, I hate my life, I hate what I've become.'"  --  An AP piece quoted his wife's testimony that before his service Hagemann "was charming, outgoing, and commanded everyone's attention when he walked into a room . . . [b]ut after each combat tour, he would return cold, quiet, paranoid, and at times increasingly aggressive and violent.  He drank more each time, had mood swings and recurring nightmares."[3]  --  "'In the last month, he put a gun to his head three times.  He told me every day was a struggle to wake up and want to live,' Joppa-Hagemann said.  'He said the things he had seen and done, no God would have forgiven him.'"  --  Hagemann was diagnosed as having PTSD, but his widow said the Army kept him from obtaining therapy.  --  AP said the Army had still not recognized Hagemann's death as a suicide.  --  The story was broken by KOMO News on Aug. 15.[4]  --  Antiwar activist Michael Prysner's article (with links to a petition) on the campaign for "justice for SSG Jared Hagemann" was posted on Michael Moore's website on Aug. 30.[5]  --  Democracy Now! featured Ashley Joppa-Hagemann on Aug. 30, where she described confronting Donald Rumsfeld at a Joint Base Lewis-McChord book signing, and charged that many soliders' suicides at JBLM are not reported as such.  --  See here for Part II of Amy Goodman's interview with her....

1.

JARED AUGUST HAGEMANN


** November 5, 1985-June 28, 2011 **

Manteca (CA) Bulletin
July 11, 2011

http://www.mantecabulletin.com/archives/25391/


Jared passed away unexpectedly while he was on duty at Ft. Lewis, Washington, he was 25 years old.  He attended Riverbank High School and graduated from Ripon High School in 2004.  From the time he was a little boy he always dreamed of being in the military and enlisted in the Army right after high school.  He advanced quickly and became a ranger right after boot camp and at the time of his passing his title was Army Ranger, Staff Sergeant.  He loved the Army and our country and served 8 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Jared loved the outdoors and was an avid outdoors- man who enjoyed hunting, fishing, 4 wheeling, rock climbing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, as well as baseball and football.

Jared is survived by his wife Ashley Hagemann of Yelm, Washington and their children Noah and Parker.  He was adored by his parents Steve & Janae Hagemann of Ripon, his brother Clayton Hagemann of Ripon, his sister Haley Hagemann of Ripon, his grandparents August & Linda Hagemann of Oakdale and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.  He was preceded in death by his grandparents George & Nadine Kauwe of Livermore.

There will be a Celebration of life service on Friday, July 15 at 10:00 am at Deegan Ripon Memorial Chapel with burial following at Burwood Cemetery in Escalon.  In loving memory please send donations in his name to your local hunting club or to a VFW of your choice.  There is an online guest book available at www.deeganfuneralchapels.com for you to share your memories and condolences.

2.

STATE OF THE SOLDIER FORUM ASHLEY JOPPA-HAGEMANN

By Todd Boyle

YouTube
August 27, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsuNhDeK48Y


Military wife describes how her husband committed suicide in June to avoid another 8th or 9th tour of duty in Afghanistan. After so many times literally begging for help from "the system."  He was one of five soldiers a month, killing themselves at the same base JBLM.  Send this video to your Senators and Congressman who make all these wars.  The wars have gone on long enough.

3.

ARMY RANGER KILLED HIMSELF TO AVOID ANOTHER TOUR, WIFE SAYS


Associated Press
August 24, 2011

http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2011/08/army_ranger_killed_himself_to_avoid_another_tour_wife_says.html

SEATTLE -- Army Ranger Jared Hagemann had served at least six combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, with another deployment to Afghanistan looming. 

But the 25-year-old staff sergeant dreaded the prospect of another tour.  He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and found the pressures of another deployment so overwhelming, his wife said, that he repeatedly threatened to take his own life. 

On June 28, he was found dead, a gunshot wound to his head, in a training area at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle, where he was based. 

"He wanted out," Ashley Joppa-Hagemann said.  "They should have let him out." 

Hagemann's wife is convinced it was suicide.  She insists that the next deployment would have been his ninth; the Army said today it would have been his seventh, and that he had just re-enlisted for another six years in January.  The cause of the discrepancy was not immediately clear. 

The Army hasn't yet determined the manner of death, said Maj. Brian DeSantis, a spokesman with the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Benning, Ga.  The Army has launched two investigations to determine how he died and the factors leading up to his death.  Investigators are reviewing Hagemann's medical history and looking into what diagnosis or treatment was made and whether policies were followed. 

Joppa-Hagemann said the military knew about her husband's mental health problems but did little to help him. 

"So many people knew there were issues.  He sought help and nobody was paying attention," said the 25-year-old widow, who lives in Yelm with the couple's two young sons. 

The Army has not held a battalion memorial for Hagemann, but Hagemann's unit participated in his funeral and gave him full military honors, DeSantis said. 

His widow thought more should have been done:  "It's ridiculous," she said.  "He's served his time.  Every soldier deserves a memorial." 

Hagemann enlisted in the Army out of high school in 2004 because of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.  He stood up for what he believed in, his wife said, and the Rangers to him meant being the first one in, "taking care of the bad guys." 

He was charming, outgoing, and commanded everyone's attention when he walked into a room, she said.  But after each combat tour, he would return cold, quiet, paranoid, and at times increasingly aggressive and violent.  He drank more each time, had mood swings and recurring nightmares, she said. 

In 2009, he was admitted for four days to Madigan Army Medical Center for mental health care services and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, she said.  He went to counseling for alcoholism but was later told he needed to do it on his own time. 

"Soldiers aren't being allowed to take care of their mental health programs," said Seth Menzel, an Army veteran who has been advocating for Joppa-Hagemann. 

In 2010, Hagemann received a glowing evaluation with top marks; raters noted his unparalleled loyalty to the Army and Rangers, and his outstanding potential.  Later that year, he would return to Afghanistan for another combat tour.  The tours lasted, on average, about four months, according to the Army. 

His wife said he was growing increasingly frustrated and repeatedly asked to leave the Rangers unit.  The Army's DeSantis said the battalion leadership was not aware of any such request from him. 

"In the last month, he put a gun to his head three times. He told me every day was a struggle to wake up and want to live," Joppa-Hagemann said.  "He said the things he had seen and done, no God would have forgiven him." 

4.

WIDOW: AFTER 8 DEPLOYMENTS, ARMY RANGER TAKES OWN LIFE


http://www.komonews.com/news/local/127623973.html?m=y&smobile=y


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.

5.

DEMAND JUSTICE FOR SSG JARED HAGEMANN

By Michael Prysner

MichaelMoore.com
August 30, 2011

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/demand-justice-for-ssg-jared-hagemann

Staff Sergeant Jared Hagemann, an Army Ranger in the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Ft. Lewis, Wash., was found on June 28 at a training area on base with a gunshot wound to the head. He was suffering from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and had been trying desperately to avoid a pending deployment to Afghanistan—what would be his 9th combat tour. He was 26-years-old, with a wife and two young children.

In 2005, SSG Hagemann came home from his first combat tour with both psychological trauma and reservations about the war he had just been a part of.

His wife, Ashley Joppa-Hagemann, said that when he returned from that first tour: “He was quiet, and wouldn't look people in the eye. He wanted to remain hidden; he didn't want to be around people.”

He was later diagnosed with a so-called “mood adjustment disorder,” then finally correctly diagnosed with PTSD.

SSG Hagemann had psychological trauma after that first deployment. But in the U.S. military, that does not exempt you from deploying to combat again. So, SSG Hagemann went on another tour, and then another, and then another, and another, and another, and yet another combat tour.

After seven grueling tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, SSG Hagemann had enough.

His opposition to deploying was two-fold. First, he was crippled by the effects of PTSD. “He couldn’t even go to the grocery store with me,” said Ashley. "He would try, and then have to run back to the car and wait there.”

Second, the reality on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan was undeniable to SSG Hagemann. He had turned against the wars, politically. “He told me that the politicians were just lying about why we were there, that the wars were just hurting innocent people,” said Ashley.

SSG Hagemann was determined to not deploy again. But in the U.S. military, there is a standard response for trying to receive help for PTSD.

“People mocked him. They judged him,” said Ashley. “They told him to ‘man up. Take a sleeping pill. You’re fine. It’s all in your head.’”

SSG Hagemann was assigned to tasks and duties reserved for “troublemakers.” As for his PTSD symptoms, he was ordered to attend an “anger management” class. This was the extent of the treatment he received.

THE ARMY'S ONLY 'OPTION'


He was offered one option -- 2/75 Ranger Regiment said that if he just went on one more combat tour, he could be done and released to attend college.  SSG Hagemann re-enlisted because of this deal, and he agreed to one final tour.

However, upon returning home, his company commander told him that the deal was invalid. He was to deploy a ninth time, and likely more afterward.

Ranger Regiment, a branch of U.S. Army Special Operations, is officially a “voluntary” unit.  “But they wouldn’t let him leave,” said Ashley.  “He wanted out but they wouldn’t let him.”

SSG Hagemann’s deployment was rapidly approaching -- he had gone through all the proper channels, from seeing psychologists to re-enlisting with the promise of being non-deployable, but was rejected at every turn.  “By June of this year, he finally had enough,” recalls Ashley, “He told me, ‘I’m not going, no matter what. I’m not going.’”

According to Ashley, SSG Hagemann felt he had exhausted every possible option.  After dutifully serving the orders of the U.S. government, spending years of his life at war, SSG Hagemann got relief for his debilitating PTSD the only way he thought he could -- by shooting himself in the head, alone in the bushes on Ft. Lewis.

“The only thing he had control of was how he ended his own life. For that I blame his chain of command.”

But 2/75 Ranger Regiment was not done making a mockery of SSG Hagemann’s life. They refused to give him a memorial service, standard honors for any service member who dies, regardless of the nature of their death.

The military’s explanation for denying him a memorial: “They told me they didn’t want it to attract media attention,” reported Ashley.

Well, contrary to the wishes of 2/75 Ranger Regiment, SSG Hagemann is attracting quite a bit of media attention. There is now a campaign to hold accountable those responsible, and enact sweeping changes throughout the entire failed system. Click here to sign the petition in support of the campaign.

FIGHTING FOR CHANGE


The case of SSG Hagemann was first exposed by March Forward! in early August, as we organized a public speak-out at Ft. Lewis to denounce the Army’s criminal negligence regarding soldiers with PTSD.

March Forward! had been rallying around the case of Sgt. Derrick Kirkland, another soldier at Ft. Lewis who committed suicide after being publicly humiliated and completely neglected by mental health officials. Sgt. Kirkland was rated a “low risk for suicide” after three documented attempts.

Sgt. Kirkland’s mother, Mary Corkhill-Kirkland, had just flown to Ft. Lewis to join active-duty soldiers and veterans, including friends of Sgt. Kirkland, to increase the public pressure on the Ft. Lewis command. One of the flyers made it into Ashley's hands, and she contacted us and joined the speak out.

Because of the media attention already generated around our work in the area, March Forward! was able to shine a spotlight on the case of SSG Hagemann, which quickly became a national story. Click here to watch the first news story that broke the case.

Now, Ashley has joined with Mary Corkhill-Kirkland, and veterans and active-duty troops in March Forward! in the struggle to drastically change the mental health system within the military, and to end the root cause of the PTSD crisis: the reckless orders of Washington to send young people to fight endlessly in two unpopular wars in which we have no reason to fight.
 
In Ashley’s own words, “My husband wanted change. That’s why I’m fighting now.”

Ashley has heroically stood up, as have many other veterans and military families. But we need others to stand with us. Those who have had similar experiences, or know someone who has, should join us in exposing the military’s unwillingess to address the suicide epidemic in any meaningful way—and fight with us to change it.

As we plan many actions in the months ahead to expose the military’s crimes and force real change, we will need your help and support. It is the unified action of active-duty troops, veterans, military families and supporters who have the power to change the military’s status quo.

No more criminal negligence! No more endless wars!

Sign the petition to demand justice for SSG Jared Hagemann and circulate this statement widely. Help build the movement!