VA Releases New Veteran Suicide Data

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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently released a more comprehensive analysis of veteran suicide data. After working with the Department of Defense, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to gather data for the most extensive veteran suicide study ever conducted, VA found last year that an average of 20 veterans die by suicide on a daily basis. Of those 20, only six were actively enrolled in VA – meaning those six had actively used VA or enrolled within the system sometime within a year of their death. Suicide is currently the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and rates of suicide are continuing to increase. The veteran population is currently over represented in suicide deaths. While many believe it is younger veterans of the Post-9/11 era who deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan that are dying by suicide at the highest rates within the veteran community, it is actually veterans who did not deploy and are 50 years old or older. This newly released data from VA does an analysis of veteran suicide broken down at the state level. The Veterans Crisis Line phone number is (800) 273-8255, Press 1. People may also visit The Confidential Chat or text to 838255.

POW/MIA Update

Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Francis J. Pitonyak, 25, of Detroit, whose identification was previously announced, was buried Sept. 22 in Arlington National Cemetery.

Marine Corps Pfc. Ray James, 21, of Sylvarena, Miss., whose identification was previously announced, was buried Sept. 22, in his hometown.

Army Air Forces Staff Sgt. Thomas M. McGraw, 26, of Lakewood, Ohio, whose identification was previously announced, will be buried Sept. 22 in Seville, Ohio. McGraw was reported missing in action.

Air Force Col. Martin R. Scott, 34, of, Jenks, Okla., whose identification was previously announced, was buried Sept. 22 in Claremore, Okla. Scott was subsequently declared missing in action.

Army Pfc. Gerald F. Wipfli, 23, of Nekoosa, Wis., whose identification was previously announced, was buried Sept. 23 in his hometown. Wipfli was declared missing in action on Nov. 4, 1944.

Army Cpl. William R. Sadewasser, 24, of Wellsville, N.Y., whose identification was previously announced, was buried Sept. 23 in Ulysses, Pa. He was reported missing as of Nov. 28, 1950.

Army Cpl. Daniel F. Kelly, 18, of Pittsburgh, Pa., whose identification was previously announced, will be buried Sept. 27 in Bridgeville, Pa. Kelly was assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. In late November 1950, his unit was ordered to advance as part of an offensive push to drive the North Koreans to the Yalu River, along the border of North Korea and China. They were attacked by Chinese forces and Kelly was declared missing on Nov. 26, 1950.

Army Air Forces Sgt. Charles H. Daman was a member of the 714th Bombardment Squadron, 448th Bombardment Group, 2nd Bombardment Division. Interment services are pending.

Navy Water Tender 2nd Class Porter L. Rich was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Navy Seaman 2nd Class George J. Wilcox was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Army Pvt. Shirley E. Bailey was a medic with Company G, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. Interment services are pending.

Until next week, praying for all service members.

– Charles Castellucio