Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Dream Come True Ends in Suicide for Soldier

A Dream Come True Ends in Suicide for Soldier
by Chase Cook
Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow
Published Aug. 24, 2013

The roadside bomb blasted the safety hatch and blew away the windshields on the heavy transport that Army Pfc. Kimberly Agar rode across Iraq during the 2007 surge. As she regained her composure, insurgents rained rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire on the convoy for about 15 minutes. Agar climbed into the back seat and returned fire as the convoy pushed through the ambush.

Agar’s group didn’t suffer fatalities in that attack but she was diagnosed as having a concussion after she complained of headaches and insomnia, about a day after the bombing.

About a year later, Agar finished her 15-month deployment and went home to Dallas for a two-week break before returning to Fort Benning, Ga. Her mother, Margy Agar, though, noticed her daughter was different, saying she was distant, withdrawn and not “my Kimi anymore.”

In 2009, Kimberly Agar re-enlisted and was posted to Germany, a place she had always wanted to visit. There, the talented vocalist who swept pageants in her childhood and teen years eventually made the U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus, singing with the elite, selective military musical troupe that performs at diplomatic and military events.

It was a job that the younger Kimberly would have envied — getting paid to travel the world as an entertainer. Agar told everyone it was her dream gig. But there were lingering effects of her injuries, fragile emotions and even a suicide attempt.

The mother of Army veteran Kimberly Agar, Margy Agar, talks about her daughter's struggles with symptoms related to a traumatic brain injury.

Early in October 2011, Agar killed herself in Germany after struggling with a minor traumatic brain injury.
read more here