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Military & Veterans' Issues

Army North Part Of Suicide Prevention Month Efforts

Eileen Pace

Soldiers returning from multiple deployments have a greater need for assistance when they get back to their families and home life.  

Maj. Gen. Adolph McQueen, deputy commanding general of Army North, is meeting with troops at headquarters in San Antonio Thursday as part of the Army's Suicide Prevention Month.

Army North officials in San Antonio are having ongoing conversations with returning soldiers as part of the Army-wide suicide awareness effort this week.

"I don’t think there’s anybody -- after ten years of war -- who has not known somebody or who has not been impacted by a suicide," said Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Zoltan Krompecher.

He said the frenetic pace of the last ten years was stressful in a unique way for soldiers and their commanders in terms of meeting personal needs.

"You know, it wasn’t that the Army didn’t care," Krompecher said. "It was the fact that you were coming back from Iraq, unpacking, dusting off your equipment, and then you were going back out the door to Afghanistan."

But the past couple of years, officers have had more opportunity to get to know returning solders and the suicide prevention program has become more hands-on.

"I don't think there's anybody -- after ten years of war -- who has not known somebody or who has not been impacted by a suicide."

Krompecher said it’s a matter of getting back to basics: Family welcoming committees, outreach opportunities for soldiers around San Antonio and lots of conversation.

He said he tells his soldiers, 'Here’s my email. Here’s my home phone number. If you have any questions, feel free to call.'

And soldiers do call when they need guidance.

"Absolutely," Krompecher said. "I’ve had emails from Afghanistan, I’ve had phone calls, I mean, I’ve had phone calls on Christmas. And it’s great. That’s my job."

Several other activies are planned at Army North this week, but Krompecher said suicide prevention is a 24/7, year-long activity.