Thursday, June 5, 2008

Major Lance Waldorf, suicide spotlights toll of repeated deployments

Army Reservist Lance Waldorf totes a child while serving in Afghanistan in 2004. The financial consultant was expecting orders for a third tour. (Waldorf family photo)

Michigan veteran's suicide spotlights toll of repeated deployments
Oralandar Brand-Williams / The Detroit News
HOLLY TOWNSHIP -- Lana Waldorf took calls from concerned family and friends Wednesday evening and tried to make sense of her husband's apparent suicide in a military cemetery in Oakland County.

Lance Waldorf, a 40-year-old major in the U.S. Army Reserve and a resident of Bingham Farms, was found dead Monday afternoon of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly Township.

"The war had a great deal to do with this," said Lana Waldorf, about her husband's death.

Waldorf said her husband suffered from post-traumatic stress and increasing depression after returning home from serving as a civil affairs specialist in Afghanistan.

"He had nightmares," she said. "He didn't tell me the details. What husband wants to share the horrific ordeals of war with his wife?"

Lana Waldorf, 51, said she alerted authorities after finding a note from her husband. His body was found shortly afterward at the cemetery. He was wearing military fatigues; a handgun was found nearby.

Authorities also found a note, a will, a backpack and photographs of Waldorf with his wife as well as family and friends, said Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Gary Muir.

Waldorf, a chartered financial consultant for Merrill Lynch, served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and was expecting orders for a third deployment. He returned home in March 2007 from his last assignment in Ghazni, Afghanistan, as a part of the 414th Battalion, a unit from Southfield.

She said she only learned the severity of her husband's depression from post-traumatic stress when she discovered a document on their printer referring to an appointment at a Veterans Administration hospital.
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