Victoria Advocate, Texas
By Laura Garcia
Published: May 7, 2016
This week when he talked to his friends from that unit, they agreed they should check up on each other more often - before someone else dies.Michael Allen woke up Monday to messages from old Army buddies saying they had lost another one.
Often suicide leaves friends and family members wondering what they could have done to prevent the death.
Six veterans in his unit have committed suicide after returning home from war, including the chaplain and chaplain's assistant.
The combat soldiers in this unit were deployed to Iraq in 2008. Allen was a platoon sergeant.
"You go from somebody watching your back 24/7 and then it's not there," he said.
An often-cited and alarming statistic states 22 U.S. service veterans take their lives every single day.
For many veterans, it's difficult to transition back into civilian life after seeing war.
"I try not to lose any more," Allen said in his office, which is in the Crossroads Area Veterans Center.
The veteran service center in the Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center opened in November.
Allen points out a photo on a bookshelf of him and a friend whom he lost to suicide a couple of years ago.
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