STARS AND STRIPES
By CHAD GARLAND
Published: May 1, 2018
In Georgia, the airman’s spouse and command thanked Woomer and Collins for intervening. Had they not stepped in, officials said, the airman could have left behind a spouse and two children under the age of 10.
Telephone number of the Veteran's Crisis Line is shown on this tag. The intervention of a rookie Office of Special Investigations officer on Reddit last week may have saved an airman's life.
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ZACHARY HADA/U.S. AIR FORCE
Online commenters worried about privacy might not like the idea of special agents among readers in online forums, but last week an Office of Special Investigations rookie on Reddit may have saved a fellow airman’s life after noticing signs of distress in a message board frequented by airmen.
On the social media site’s section for the Air Force, Senior Airman Charles Woomer noticed a subtle cry for help among posts complaining about LeaveWeb and inquiring about making the transition to the Guard and Reserve. Others did, too, according to an OSI statement issued Friday, but Woomer took action.
A poster asked how his group life insurance policy would pay out if “something” happened before he separated from the military. The person — he would turn out to be a suicidal husband and father — wanted to make sure his family would be comfortable.
Woomer, a special agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 322 at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., was one of several “Redditors” who noticed a worrisome tone in the post. He notified his leadership, and with guidance from Senior Airman Justin Collins, he contacted officials with Reddit and Google to identify the original poster.
“These people literally saved my life this week,” wrote the user, who goes by the handle psychopete. “Today I scheduled myself for therapy and I’m active in an online support group at least until my first session. I won the battle and I’m prepped for war. I’m gonna make it.”
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