Six men’s names will forever be connected by the stresses of the Iraq War, five will be remembered by their loved ones as the other waits his fate in military custody.
On Monday John Russell allegedly walked into a stress clinic with his gun and opened fire. In the wake five bodies littered the ground. Two of the dead had devoted their time in the service to helping those suffering from stress and three had been fighting their own demons within the clinics walls.
Navy Cmdr. Charles Springle was a Sanford Central High School graduate in North Carolina. His career in the Navy was devoted to treating those who dealt with the stress caused by the frequent deployments to the battle fields. He fought hard to take away the stigma that clouded the troops from seeking help.
“He regarded it as very important work,” said Bob Goodale, a friend of Springle’s and director of behavioral mental health for the Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Citizen-Soldier Support Program. “We all who work in this know that it is difficult. This is an example of how difficult.”
Lubbock Online reports:
“Major Houseal was a beloved, kind and generous physician and soldier, who volunteered for additional duty in Iraq to care for our servicemen and women,” said William Biggs, an Amarillo endocrinologist who works in the same group as Houseal’s wife. “To honor the memory of Major Houseal, we have established an education fund for the benefit of his six children.”
Dr. Matthew Houseal, a psychiatrist and major in the Army Reserve was at the clinic because he felt it was the place he needed to be at. He had enlisted as an Army reservist after becoming alarmed at the rising suicide rate in the armed forces. The father of seven had worked as a psychiatrist for Texas Panhandle Mental Health Mental Retardation in Amarillo.
“He was dedicated to his patients. He was a family man, very thorough diagnostician,” said Bud Schertler, executive director of Texas Panhandle Mental Health Mental Retardation. “We couldn’t ask for a better psychiatrist.”
Army Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos, 25, of Paterson, N.J. was Eugenia Gardos’ youngest child. He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was gunned down at Camp Liberty.
The young man who joined the service after finishing high school had come to the US from Peru as a child. His family remembers how he used to hand out candy to the kids in Iraq just as he did as a young man at home.
Military City reports:
About 10:30 p.m. May 11, Army officials showed up at the door of the place Christian shared with his wife a few blocks away.
“We were all here at home,” Carlos Bueno said. “I was getting ready to go to bed when I heard screaming downstairs. I ran downstairs and everyone had thrown themselves to the floor, thrashing around, screaming.”
“We want people to know we’re proud of our son’s Army, but if my son had died in war we would be able to handle that,” he said. “But not to die in this manner.”
He leaves behind his family and a young wife.
Spc. Jacob D. Barton, 20, of Lenox, Mo. was a quiet student who loved graphic novels and science fiction. He followed his older sister into the Army after graduating high school last year. Barton was known for sticking up for the kids who were being picked on in school.
The Army told his family that Barton died a hero, using his body as a shield to protect another man while trying to convince the gunman into putting down his weapon.
Pfc. Michael E. Yates Jr., 19 leaves behind an infant son. He followed his stepfather and stepbrothers into the Army. At the age of 17 he completed his GED and signed up for service. He had told his mother about meeting Russell, saying that the man had issues.
Yates was at Camp Liberty to deal with the stresses of the battle field knowing that he needed help to get through the hard times.
He had been home just last month to celebrate his son’s first birthday.
Alexis Mister, 18, of Seaford, Del., and the mother of Michael Yates’ son Kamren, said he was an extremely caring father. “He was always was concerned with Kamren so much,” she said. “He loved him.”
Mister said Yates came home in April for the boy’s first birthday party and doted on his son by buying him a four-wheeler. “It’s absolutely devastating,” Mister said, choking up during a telephone interview discussing Yates’ death. “My son doesn’t have a father anymore.”
Regardless of where a soldier dies he is a hero. He or she has offered up their life for the service of others.