Sunday, September 18, 2011

Transcript of Ashley Joppa Hagemann at Kings Books

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Hello Everyone my name is Ashley Joppa Hagemann.

And, um, I don't know if any of you have heard about my husband, and our story that we, um, about our, the last few years. our struggle.

My husband is Jared August Hagemann, he was a staff sergeant in the 2nd of the 75th Ranger regiment and he was in the A company, before he took his life on June 28th.

And I know that there, um, the military is saying, that there is pending, um, an investigation into his death.

I don't understand why it is stil pending

Clearly um, it is the Rangers' fault, the command's fault, that my husband chose to free himself from the pain, and from the Rangers. That is why he took his life.

And to give you some information about my husband,
he was going on his 7th year in the military. This would have been about the 8th or 9th deployment for him.

And with the Rangers, they. About every six months, they usually re-deploy. There were a few times when my husband went for a short period of time. and the next time, they would stay longer than the usual time. The "usual time" is anywhere from 4 to 6 months.

And it all started in 2009 when he was diagnosed with PTSD

He came home from that deployment, and the day he was supposed to return back to work, he... All he did was drink himself senseless.

Which is what he did before and after... a deployment.

He said the reason before was, he wanted to distance himself, numb himself, for what he had to do.

And afterwards, it was to forget. and numb himself from what he had to do.

And so that day he was supposed to return back to work he had called the Rangers and told them I quit, I'm done.

And, so, he called me up after that and told me he was thinking about taking his life. So I rushed over there, I stood by his side like I always did. and of course rangers showed up. Tried to talk him into staying longer--staying into the Rangers and all he said was, "Get away from me. FU. I Quit. Don't you hear me? I quit. I CAN quit. "

And, people, a lot of people aren't aware, with the rangers it's a voluntary unit. You're able to leave whenever you want.

So, my husband was telling them he quit, and, after a few hours of that, we took him... well, I took him, to the ER to sober up. Then he admitted himself into Five North in Madigan, which everyone, um, it's also known as the mental ward. And there is um, there, he received some counseling, and they held him for about three days. A friday, I believe it was a friday all the way til monday, they let him out monday morning. And they told him that as long as he continued his counseling and his alcoholics class, he'd be OK. He didn't want to leave. He wanted to stay as long as he could to get the help that he wanted. He admitted himself.

About that time they moved him to HHC. They put him in the S5 Shop. And according to everybody in the Rangers, the S5 Shop is where they put the troublemakers. The problems. So they could hide you away, sit you in an office, and forget about you. And that, that was the choice that they gave my husband. Either we can hide you away, so that you can get the help, or, you can go to the regular army and we will make sure that you get a, excuse my language, we'll make sure you get a shitty job. And we'll make sure that they deploy you overseas for the normal period of time which is, I think 12 to 14 months, I'm not sure what it was at the time.

And so, my husband chose to get the help. Because that's what he wanted. So they bullied him into staying in the rangers, when he wanted out, and about a month or so later, they actually told him that the counseling and the alcoholics anonymous program that he was in, was taking up his work time. They needed him doing more important things. And that he needed to take time from his personal life, to seek the help that wanted. Which was not the deal in the beginning.

So we went and sought out our own help. We tried so many times. But every time Jared would start to talk about overseas, the counselor would try and force him to give details. and just kind of push him. And I don't know but from my experience when someone says no, No means No. And that would just set him back for about two weeks. He, he wouldn't talk to anybody. He'd start drinking again. Become aggressive. And I'd, the only time I felt that the rangers would listen was when I would call local law enforcement. But after a few times, that no longer seemed to help. All they would do was tell my husband, stay in your barracks, don't talk to your wife. Like I was the problem. It wasn't me. It was them. They did not take any responsibility for my husband. Even that last month of his life when they knew. When the police had called them and told them that they had responded to a call at our house that he had a gun to his head. That one, those two incidents, were probably two months before his death.

In that last month, he held a gun to his head three times. And by that time he had this look of despair in his eyes. And, I haven't told anybody this, but the last time he had that gun to his head, and he was yelling, "Should I do it? Would this make everybody happy?" It's as if he was asking me, Please. Let me go. And the worst part is that I love him so much. And that is what keeps me going right now. Talking. Getting in front of people. Letting everybody know about my husband. I didn't want him to suffer any more. And at that moment, I was thinking, if that is the only way that you will be at peace, do what you need to do.

And I hate myself for thinking that but to see someone in pain every single day, waking up, telling me "I hate myself. I hate my job. I hate my life. I hate what I've become."

And so the last day that I had heard from him, I hadn't talked to him directly. But he did say that he was going to kill himself. Local law enforcement knew. They said they were going to contact his chain of command. Tried calling his cellphone. He didn't pick up. Tuesday rolled around. And they said he went AWOL. That's not my husband. He has pride. He has responsibilities. He's a strong man. They took that from him.

And now, they are refusing to give my husband, who gave his life for the rangers, a memorial. At first they told me it was because they didn't want media around, to get the story. Because they know, they've learned that from me over the years, that you can't keep me quiet. I'm a fighter. I, I always stood by my husband. And now that I no longer have him, I have to stand up for him. And everybody else who wants help. Because nobody else will. That's what my husband wanted to do.

So, all I'm asking is that, as a community, that everybody gets together and stands up for these men. Because the military's not going to do it. They took what they could from these men, and they won't let them go.

Thank you.

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