Another National Guard soldier working Operation Lone Star dies by suspected suicide

According to paperwork obtained by the Army Times and The Texas Tribune, the soldier shot himself together with his obligation weapon.

EAGLE PASS, Texas — A service member assigned to the Texas National Guard’s border safety mission, Operation Lone Star, died by a self-inflicted gunshot together with his obligation weapon Tuesday morning in Eagle Pass, in accordance with an official doc obtained by Army Times and The Texas Tribune.

According to the doc, the taking pictures was round 8:20 a.m. The Texas Military Department confirmed the dying and mentioned it’s withholding the soldier’s identify till their household is notified.

“We are deeply saddened to have lost one in all our personal in the present day,” Maj. Gen. Thomas Suelzer, the department’s top leader said in a statement. We extend our deepest condolences to the family.”

Army Times and the Tribune are withholding the soldier’s identification till after their household is notified.

In an announcement, Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed the soldier’s reason behind dying and requested Texans to wish for the soldier’s household.

“Cecilia and I are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of a soldier with the Texas National Guard. Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of the soldier,” he mentioned in an announcement. “Texas Rangers are leading the investigation, as the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety coordinate with local law enforcement.”

He additionally pointed to psychological well being resources supplied to army members by the Texas Military Department and the state’s human and well being companies company.

Beto O’Rourke, Abbott’s Democratic challenger who has been crucial of Operation Lone Star, lamented the dying on social media and decried the therapy of troopers on the mission.

“I’m so sorry to hear that a tenth Texas National Guard member has lost their life while deployed under Operation Lone Star,” O’Rourke mentioned. “My thoughts are with his family, community, and the members of the Guard who served all of us alongside him. They should never be used as political pawns.”

If dominated a suicide, the dying could be the primary suspected suicide linked to the mission since December of final year, and the fifth suspected suicide total.

The soldier can also be the Tenth-known Texas Guard member linked to the mission to die since its speedy enlargement started in September 2021.

The deaths started that month when 4 troops died by suicide in an eight-week span. The suicide cluster was topic of an Army Times investigation.

By February, two extra had died in accidental shootings.

In April, then-Spc. Bishop Evans died when he tried to save lots of two drowning migrants in Eagle Pass. Evans was not outfitted with a flotation gadget as a result of mission’s long-standing issues with buying and fielding crucial gear, a joint Army Times/Texas Tribune investigation discovered.

Then one other soldier died of a blood clot after a protracted safety shift in July amid a document warmth wave.

The ninth dying occurred July 16 when a soldier assigned to the mission died in a motorbike accident in Laredo, in accordance with an incident report obtained by Army Times and The Tribune.

When the primary suicides linked to Operation Lone Star occurred final year, troops on the mission have been struggling by means of pay issues and poor dwelling situations. Many have been additionally dissatisfied with the large-scale involuntary activations that have been required to fulfill Gov. Greg Abbott’s troop quotas, in accordance with surveys of the mission’s troops obtained by Army Times and the Tribune.

Army Times and the Tribune documented these points in a rolling investigation that dissected the hasty mobilization process, revealed how Guard leaders ignored the results of a feedback survey and highlighted the mission’s budget overruns.

Since the information organizations’ reporting, TMD has taken steps to handle troopers’ issues and slowly decreased the variety of troops on the border. Three of the division’s high leaders additionally abruptly stepped down in March and April.

State Rep. Eddie Morales, D-Eagle Pass, lamented the soldier’s dying in his hometown.

“Hearing the news of another Guardsman committing suicide while on deployment here in Eagle Pass is heartbreaking. This has been a reoccurring instance and the Texas Legislature and state leadership need to address it immediately,” he mentioned in an announcement. “Many Guardsmen have given up their livelihoods, left their families and have [borne] the responsibility of assisting in Operation Lone Star.”

For 24/7 psychological well being help in English or Spanish, name the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s free help line at 800-662-4357. You may also attain a skilled disaster counselor by means of the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988.

This story originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

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