Soldier who shot himself in head appeals Army’s decision to deny benefits
STARS AND STRIPES
By WYATT OLSON
Published: February 5, 2019
The investigator’s original determination in Holyan’s case, however, was overturned by the 101st Airborne Division’s commander and then ratified by Army Human Resources Command.
Spc. Kevin Holyan, a wounded warrior athlete from the Fort Sam Houston Warrior Transition Battalion, poses with Lt. Col. Eric Kjonnerod, commander of Warrior Transition Battalion-Hawaii, during the 2018 Pacific Regional Trials indoor rowing medal ceremony at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Nov. 10, 2018.LEANNE THOMAS/U.S. ARMY PHOTOArmy Spc. Kevin Holyan arrived especially early at the Hopkinsville, Ky., home of his former barracks mate, who had been promoted to sergeant and was celebrating with a party that evening in April 2017.
Holyan, a 22-year-old assigned to an engineer battalion with the 101st Airborne Division at nearby Fort Campbell, kept his personally owned handgun at that friend’s house, and was eager to put on new grips he’d gotten for the gun. Army regulations did not allow Holyan to keep the .40-caliber Glock 23 at his base residence.
Hours later, Holyan jokingly raised the gun to his head, and believing it was unloaded, pulled the trigger and fired a bullet through his brain. He was rushed to a hospital where a note in his medical chart that evening offered a stark assessment: “Grave prognosis,” it said. “Likely fatal [injury].”
Holyan survived, but today he cannot walk and is mentally impaired. He is in an Army Warrior Transition Unit and on his way to becoming a civilian. He is not expected to be able to work again.
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